Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DUI Marijuana?

DRIVER UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AND MARIJUANA FACES TRIAL FOR CAUSING HIGH-SPEED FREEWAY CRASH, KILLING TWO AND SEVERELY INJURING ANOTHER

SANTA ANA - A driver under the influence of alcohol and marijuana faces trial tomorrow for causing a high-speed freeway crash, killing two elderly passengers and severely injuring their elderly driver. Trevor Mark Coffman, 38, Laguna Niguel, is charged with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act without gross negligence while intoxicated with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury to an elder. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison. Coffman is out of custody on $100,000 bail. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Thursday, April 1, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-43, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On March 15, 2007, 76-year-old Sally Lee Howd and her 82-year-old husband Frank Howd were returning home with 72-year-old Catherine Malloy, a visiting friend whom they picked up from Los Angeles International Airport. They were driving southbound in the carpool lane on Interstate 5 and collided with a black Toyota Celica, which was disabled with no emergency signal lights on the freeway south of El Toro Road.

In the evening of March 15, 2007, Coffman is accused of consuming several alcoholic drinks following a recreational softball game. At approximately 11:20 p.m., the defendant is accused of driving southbound on Interstate 5 while intoxicated in his pick-up truck with a friend in the passenger seat. Coffman is accused of failing to stop due to his intoxication and crashing into the victims' Volvo, which was disabled as a result of the earlier collision. Witnesses called 9-1-1.

Coffman is accused of killing passengers Malloy and Frank Howd and severely injuring driver Sally Howd. Malloy was pronounced dead at the scene. The two other victims were transported to the hospital to be treated for their injuries. Frank Howd suffered internal injuries and a broken pelvis and died the next day from multiple traumatic injuries that were caused by the crash. Sally Howd sustained a skull fracture, broken ribs, and cuts to her face.

When contacted by police at the scene, Coffman is accused of displaying objective signs of intoxication including impaired balance and coordination, watery eyes, and an odor of alcohol on his breath. The defendant is accused of having a blood alcohol content of .10 percent and testing positive for marijuana. Coffman was arrested after being transported to the hospital and treated for a broken collar bone and scratches.

Another Victim of the Real Estate Bubble

According to the Orange County DA:

BROKER FACES TRIAL FOR CONSPIRACY WITH BOYFRIEND AND HIS BROTHER TO COMMIT $17.5 MILLION IN REAL ESTATE FRAUD BY PURCHASING HOMES USING STOLEN IDENTITIES AND INTENTIONALLY DEFAULTING ON LOANS
*Co-defendant boyfriend and brother have warrants for their arrest

WESTMINSTER - A real estate broker faces trial today for conspiring with her boyfriend and his brother to commit $17.5 million in real estate fraud by purchasing 35 properties using stolen identities and intentionally defaulting on loans in order to steal the loan money. Kathy Chen, 49, Westminster, is charged with 157 felony counts including one count of conspiracy, 47 counts of grand theft, one count of attempted grand theft, 40 counts of forgery, 30 counts of recording false documents, 30 counts of identity theft, one count of elder financial exploitation, four counts of forging an official seal, and three counts of filing false tax returns. She faces sentencing enhancements for causing loss in excess of $2.5 million and $100,000. If convicted, she faces a sentence ranging from two years up to 109 years in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin today, Tuesday, March 30, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. in Department W-9, West Justice Center, Westminster.

Chen's boyfriend, Richard Salgado Gonzalez, 60, and his brother, Daniel Gonzalez, 57, face the same charges and sentence as Chen. Fugitives Richard and Daniel Gonzalez have outstanding arrest warrants. Both may currently be living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Chen worked as a real estate broker and owned several businesses including Chen Financial, Western Escrow, Nationwide Tax Services and SBC Financial. She is accused of conspiring with her then-boyfriend, Richard Gonzalez, and his brother, Daniel Gonzalez, to commit over $17.5 million in fraud by using the identities of unsuspecting or unqualified victims to obtain mortgage loans for the purchase of multiple properties. Chen and her co-defendants are accused of recruiting these victims in order to hide their own identities. These victims often spoke little or no English, were unemployed or had limited incomes, and had no intention of ever residing in or repaying any loan on properties in their names.

Between Jan. 13, 2005, and July 10, 2007, the defendants are accused of obtaining 47 fraudulent loans from 13 lenders on 35 properties in excess of $17.5 million through the use of the fraudulently obtained identities. These properties included 13 in Orange County, 16 in San Bernardino County, and six in Kern County. The defendants are being prosecuted in Orange County for all 35 properties.

The defendants are accused of using the fraudulently obtained personal and credit information of some of the fake buyers, including a 92-year-old woman, on several occasions without their knowledge or consent. Chen, Richard Gonzalez, and Daniel Gonzalez are accused of acquiring city business licenses using the stolen identities for nonexistent businesses in order to obtain higher income loans. They are accused of fabricating loan applications to reflect higher incomes for the fake buyers, forging the fake buyers' names and signatures on various deeds and loan documents, and forging seals and notary stamps on a variety of notarized documents and deeds. They are accused of fraudulently filing these fabricated and forged documents with the Orange County Clerk-Recorder's Department.

Acting as the escrow company, the defendants are accused of making some monthly payments on the loans to prevent suspicion by the lender. They are accused of then defaulting on the loan and keeping the remaining loan money.

Friday, March 26, 2010

THE REAL WORLD--LAGUNA BEACH

16-YEAR-OLD DIRECT FILED AS ADULT FOR STABBING FORMER CLASSMATE AND ASSAULTING TWO OTHER TEENS WITH A CARVING KNIFE

NEWPORT BEACH - A 16-year-old has been charged as an adult for stabbing a former classmate in the stomach and assaulting two of the victim's friends with a carving knife. Michael Jason Wilson, Laguna Beach, is charged with three felony counts of aggravated assault with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison. Wilson is out of custody on $65,000 bail and is scheduled for continued arraignment March 29, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

Prior to March 11, 2010, Wilson is accused of engaging in an online rivalry with 17-year-old Julian C. on Facebook and through text messages and e-mail. The defendant is accused of agreeing to meet Julian C. at Wilson's house on March 11, 2010.

On the agreed-upon date, Julian C. and 16-year-olds Nicholas L. and Sam S. drove with a fourth friend to Wilson's Laguna Beach home after school. The victims and the defendant had previously attended the same high school, which Wilson was no longer attending. Wilson is accused of meeting Julian C. outside of the house while the other three waited in the car. After a confrontation, Wilson is accused of using a carving knife with a 12-inch blade, which he had brought outside with him, and stabbing Julian C. in the stomach.

The three waiting friends got out of the car and ran to help Julian C. and disarm Wilson. Wilson is accused of struggling with the victims and cutting the hands and arms of Nicholas L. and Sam S. The fourth friend was not physically injured. The three victims and their friend were able to get back into their car and drive away. They flagged down a passing police officer and were transported to the hospital for treatment.

Responding officers from the Laguna Beach Police Department arrested Wilson that day at his home. Julian C. underwent surgeries to treat stab wounds to his stomach and hands. He was released from the hospital after one week. Nicholas L. underwent surgery on his hand and received stitches. Sam S. received stitches for his wounds.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

PER THE OC DA: DEPUTY ACCUSED OF DUI

ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY CHARGED WITH DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AFTER DRIVING OVER FRONT LAWN AND CRASHING INTO PLANTER

SANTA ANA - A deputy with the Orange County Sheriff's Department has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after losing control of his car and crashing into a planter in the front yard of a Villa Park home. Mark Wayne Hewlett, 30, Orange, is charged with one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a blood alcohol level over .08 percent, and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Hewlett is scheduled to be arraigned April 29, 2010, at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

Early in the morning on Dec. 13, 2009, Hewlett is accused of driving home from a friend's house while intoxicated after consuming several alcoholic beverages. At approximately 1:45 a.m., the defendant is accused of losing control of his vehicle in Villa Park, driving up over the curb and across the grass, and crashing into a planter in the front yard of a home. The residence is the home of Orange County Supervisor Bill Campbell.

A passing teenage motorist contacted his father, who called 9-1-1. When police arrived, Hewlett is accused of displaying objective signs of intoxication including emitting a strong odor of alcohol, having watery eyes, and a lack of balance. At approximately 3:30 a.m., an hour and 45 minutes after the crash, Hewlett is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .13 percent.

At the time of his arrest, Hewlett is accused of being in possession of a controlled substance, Xanax, for which he does not have a prescription.

Think about the above next time you are no jury duty and feel the need to view the officer as having more credibilty than other witnesses. People from all walks of life can be accused of a crime. . .

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NO BAC RESULTS + PROCEEDING BY INDICTMENT=WEAK CASE?

An alleged drunken driver was indicted today for killing another motorist by crashing into the victim's car while speeding over 100 mph on the toll road. Richard Ernest Caselli, 37, Ladera Ranch, was indicted by the grand jury on one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison if convicted. The defendant is out of custody on $150,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Friday, March 19, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office sent a press release on Oct. 19, 2009, with the following information regarding this case: At approximately 6:25 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2009, Caselli is accused of speeding over 100 mph on State Route 73 in his Volvo sedan. The defendant is accused of being under the influence of alcohol as he drove at a high rate of speed just north of Laguna Canyon Road. Caselli is accused of losing control of his car and crashing into a Nissan sport utility vehicle driven by 51-year-old Brook Boynton. The force of the crash caused the victim's car to spin out of control and roll, ejecting Boynton onto the right shoulder. The victim was killed as a result of his injuries.

Caselli's vehicle also came to a stop. When contacted by police at the scene, Caselli is accused of displaying objective signs of intoxication including bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech, and omitting an odor of alcohol.

Interestingly, they did not release the BAC results as they usually do. Moreover, they proceeded by indictment, another sign that this may not be the strongest case for the DA. In any event, it will be interesting to follow.