Articles Tagged with restitution

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Peter Herz, a 61-year old Westminster resident, pleaded guilty to a possession of child pornography charge in February. This offense is among many that are eligible for lifetime sex-offender registration. Before his arrest and incarceration, Herz reportedly had a job as a pianist and musical director for Laguna Beach’s “Pageant of the Masters.” Sources say he was also an accompanist at Cal State Fullerton’s Theater Department.

Herz was targeted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) “Operation Predator,” an initiative designed to protect children from sexual predators and to identify and rescue victims of child exploitation.

While Herz was out on bond and waiting for trial, he allegedly obtained new electronic devices and obtained new images of child pornography on them. In total, Herz was reportedly in possession of more than half a million images and roughly 400 videos of child pornography.

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On Wednesday in Portland, Oregon a U.S. District Judge sentenced Darren Bottinelli to 46 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for healthcare fraud. Bottinelli was also order to pay $3,093,918 in restitution to his victims. The purpose of his company was to put money into trust accounts for employees of his clients, who could then draw upon those monies for eligible health expenditures.

Darren Bottinelli was the sole shareholder, officer, and director of Axis, based in Portland, Oregon. His company administered employee health reimbursement and flexible spending accounts for client employers nationwide.

Some of his clients included Goodwill Industries, Job squad, Cascade Christian Services, VersAbility Resources, and Vets Securing America; which employed veterans, mentally and physically disabled adults, other vulnerable individuals, as well as government contractors and other companies who hire hourly and minimum wage contract workers.

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Only one day after the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that took the lives of 20 children and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, Marcos Gurrola allegedly took out a .40-caliber Glock handgun in a crowded Orange County mall parking lot and fired 54 rounds toward the Macy’s building. He stopped shooting and surrendered when two Newport Beach police officers on bicycles arrived. Gurrola was in possession of six magazines for his handgun, with even more in his car.

He was charged with 54 felony counts of firing a weapon at an inhabited dwelling, 2 counts of assault, plus two firearm enhancements. The reasons for Gurrola’s actions are inconclusive. He reportedly claimed that when he fired his gun, it made him feel better. Police said in 2012 that Gurrola told a detective he fired his gun because he was angry, but was not aiming at anybody.

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With tax day coming tomorrow, it’s tempting to make a few tweaks to reduce the amount of tax you owe to the federal government. But allow yourself to get carried away and you may find yourself in federal prison on tax evasion charges. The former city of Bell chief administrator was convicted of allegedly falsifying losses on his taxes, but that’s only half the story.

As the city administrator, he reportedly misappropriated taxpayer funds to pay himself a salary far in excess of what he should have received, and then claimed more than $770,000 in non-existent losses to the IRS to inflate his take-home pay up to $1.18 million per year.

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In a recent juvenile delinquency case, a minor stole a car and damaged it beyond repair, rendering it a total loss for insurance purposes. After admitting to the crime, the juvenile court granted Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ), meaning that the case would be dismissed provided the minor complete the terms of probation, which in this case included restitution, or paying the owner of the car for damages.

The court ordered the minor pay $13,000 in damages to the car owner, along with $2,000 in interest on the car loan as part of this restitution. After the criminal defense attorney filed an appeal to challenge the $2,000 interest portion, the court surprisingly denied the appeal. The reason it was denied was because there is no way to appeal a DEJ order, and the restitution is considered part of it.

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In Orange County (and all of California), crime victims with damaged or destroyed property are entitled to restitution. Criminal restitution requires that the defendant in a criminal case pay for the victim’s damages- he must replace or repair damaged property, pay for counseling, if necessary, and pay direct damages like medical bills that resulted from the criminal act.

Patricia Short-Lyster is one such victim. Around 2008, she bought a 1975 Dodge Adventurer pickup truck. Her father, a former auto mechanic, encouraged her to buy it because it was in excellent condition. In 2009, Leroy Stanley vandalized Short-Lyster’s truck so badly that the driver’s side door of the vehicle could no longer be opened. Stanley was arrested and pled “no contest” to the charges. (Pleading “no contest” allows a defendant to avoid having the conviction used against him in a subsequent civil trial).

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