A judge in California sentenced a man to nine years in a federal prison on Nov. 8 for orchestrating a string of fraudulent schemes. The judge also ordered him to pay $6.7 million in restitution to his victims. The man, who was once married to the daughter of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, faced the judge after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
A California woman has been indicted on five counts of wire fraud for allegedly promising to help immigrants become permanent residents or American citizens and then pocketing their money. U.S. attorneys say she did not file any paperwork on behalf of her clients with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was not licensed to practice law in any state and had no business license. The woman was released from custody after posting an undisclosed bond.
California residents have likely heard of the ongoing college admissions scandal that involves famous names like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Several wealthy individuals were charged with allegedly using fraudulent means to gain acceptance into prestigious universities for their children. One of the parents charged in the scandal was sentenced on Sept 24.
California readers might be interested to learn that actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Sept. 13 for participating in a college admissions bribing scheme intended to boost her daughter's SAT scores. She was also sentenced to 12 months of supervised release, assessed a $30,000 fine and ordered to serve 250 hours of community service. She must begin her prison sentence on Oct. 25.
A 25-year-old man has admitted to using an unlicensed Bitcoin kiosk to launder money. Federal prosecutors say the Westwood resident exchanged approximately $25 million in U.S. currency and Bitcoin between May 2015 and October 2017. His list of clients is said to have included criminal organizations selling narcotics and other illegal items on what is known as the dark web. The man is expected to make his first court appearance in September in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
A 34-year-old man who worked at a Wells Fargo branch in California chose to plead guilty to a charge of felony bank fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18 and could face of up to 30 years in prison. Authorities say that the man laundered money that was obtained by deceiving the IRS. Specifically, he unfroze bank accounts that Wells Fargo had put on hold because of suspected fraud despite lacking the authority to do so.
A 64-year-old California financial advisor was sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison on July 18 for embezzling funds from 12 people. They were all workers' compensation funds for injured workers.
On June 7, it was reported that a former California attorney pleaded guilty to wire fraud after he falsely represented to his clients that the legal resolutions he obtained for them were favorable. The 36-year-old attorney faxes a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud charge.
Attorney Michael Avenatti says that he plans to plead not guilty to a raft of felony charges including embezzlement and fraud when he appears in California district court. The 48-year-old litigator is accused of using millions of dollars that should have gone to his clients to fund his lavish lifestyle. Avenatti faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars if he is convicted on all of the charges against him.
Controversial attorney Michael Avenatti became a media sensation in March 2018 when he took legal action against President Trump on behalf of an adult film star, and he was even said to be mulling a 2020 presidential bid. However, those aspirations took a major hit on March 25 when federal prosecutors in both California and New York filed felony charges against Avenatti that could put him behind bars for many years.