D.A.’s Office gives gifts to families of murder victims

LOS ANGELES COUNTY — District Attorney’s investigators have distributed gift baskets this season to about 2000 families of homicide victims, officials announced Tuesday.
The D.A.’s 27th Annual Holiday Giving Drive took part throughout Los Angeles County, including visits to families in San Gabriel Valley cities such as West Covina and La Puente, District Attorney Steve Cooley said in a written statement.
“We in the District Attorney’s Office always are seeking justice from crime victims and their families. During the Holiday Giving Drive, we hope to bring them some cheer and and show them that we care,” he said.
District Attorney’s staff nominated families to participate in the program, which is a team effort by the District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Assistance Program, Bureau of Investigations and Bureau of Community Relations.

DA tells Commerce councilman to resign

From The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office:

LOS ANGELES – A City of Commerce councilman must resign and abstain from holding public office for the next three years after pleading guilty today to obstruction of justice, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

East Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Henry Barela, who imposed the sentence, further indicated that Hugo Argumedo, 49, may not hold public office while on his three-year probation term.

Deputy District Attorney Sandi Roth of the Public Integrity Division said the defendant pleaded to a misdemeanor count of obstructing justice. A felony count of perjury by declaration was dismissed at sentencing.

The case, filed Dec. 14, stems from a false affidavit that Argumedo certified as true, filed in a civil lawsuit between the City of Commerce and the former city attorney, Francisco Leal.

The false affidavit, signed by Argumedo, was filed by Leal in an attempt to defend allegations that he failed to pay a settlement owed to the City of Commerce after a contractual dispute.

Argumedo’s conduct caused the city to incur additional legal fees and resulted in a miscarriage of justice to the city, the prosecutor said.

Former Vernon mayor gets probation, fine in corruption probe

This from the DA’s Office:

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LOS ANGELES – The man who served as Vernon’s mayor for more than a half-century and his wife were sentenced today to probation and ordered to pay more than $600,000 in fines and penalties following their conviction last month for voter fraud and other charges.

Leonis Malburg, 80, was barred from holding any elective office and placed on five years probation and by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson. The judge found the couple guilty Dec. 4 following a court trial. Malburg’s 83-year-old wife, Dominica, was placed on three years probation, said Deputy District Attorneys Max Huntsman and Jonlyn Callahan, who prosecuted the case.

Malburg was ordered to pay a total of $183,800 in fines and penalty assessments and more than $395,000 in restitution to the City of Vernon for salary, benefits and travel for the time he was elected in April 11, 2006. His wife was ordered to pay $36,000 in fines and penalties.

“We’re pleased with the sentence,” Huntsman said. “We hope politicians get the message” that they must live in the district where they’ve been elected to represent and where they are registered to vote.

Pellicano pleads no contest in threats case involving Times reporter

From the DA’s office:

LOS ANGELES – Imprisoned former private investigator Anthony Pellicano and the man he hired to threaten a former Los Angeles Times reporter in 2002 both pleaded no contest today to making a criminal threat.

Pellicano, 65, and Alexander Proctor, 66, entered their pleas before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William N. Sterling, said Deputy District Attorney Ron Goudy with the Organized Crime Division.

Each defendant, already serving federal prison terms on unrelated convictions, was immediately sentenced to the maximum of three years in prison. The state terms are to be served concurrently with their remaining federal prison sentences. In exchange for their no contest pleas, the conspiracy charge was dismissed against each defendant.

The pair was charged in June 2005 with conspiracy and making a criminal threat against Anita Busch, who was a reporter with the Los Angeles Times. At the time, Busch was working on an article on the relationship between actor Steven Seagal and an alleged Mafia associate.

The felony complaint said Pellicano hired Proctor on or between April 9, 2002 and June 19, 2002, to threaten Busch to “cause her to fear for her life.”

Arraignment scheduled in 911 slaying

Five teens charged with slaying a Covina Hills woman while she was on the phone with 911 are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

This from City News Service, via the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office:

8:30 a.m. POMONA – Arraignment is scheduled for Christopher Santana Christopher Stratis, Christine Alegre and Megali Fernandez, who are charged in the slaying of a woman in her Covina Hills home while she was reporting a break- in to a 911 operator. Dept. N, Pomona Courthouse, 400 Civic Center Plaza.

Another rape in Pasadena

Just last week, Pasadena police and the DAs office announced they had captured a man suspected in a couple of rapes during the holidays.

But, apparently another rapist is stalking Colorado Boulevard, using the same MO and possibly matching the description of the previous rapist. Here’s the story as we know it:

PASADENA – A woman was kidnapped, raped and bound Friday before being dropped off in Los Angeles, authorities said.

Pasadena police received a call from Los Angeles police about 5:20 a.m. saying a woman in her late 30s reported being kidnapped from the 2600 block of East Colorado Boulevard and raped, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.

The woman reported she was offered a ride by her attacker when he drove her to an unknown location within the city and sexually assaulted her, Ibarra said.

She was also struck in the face during the incident, causing minor injuries, the lieutenant added.

After the assault, the attacker bound the victim’s hands and dropped her off at a secluded spot near the 210 Freeway and La Tuna Canyon Road in Los Angeles, Ibarra said.

The suspect was described as a white man in his 40s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, of heavy build, with brown hair and blue clothing, the lieutenant said.

He was driving a white Ford F-150 pickup truck that appeared it was being used as a utility or contractor’s vehicle, she said, and may have been armed with a knife.

 

PUSD wants DA to step in (again)

PUSD believes it got shortchanged by contractors doing work on their last big bond measure.

The district turned the results of its investigation over to Pasadena PD, which turned its investigation over to the DA’s office, where the case was promptly rejected.

The official reason for the rejection was the tangle of convoluted paperwork associated with the claim. Nate McIntire and Caroline An got the same paperwork, and agree it’s a barely dechiperable mess.

In any case, PUSD thinks it can get the DA’s office to reopen the case. Here’s a snippet of their story, which ran in the Star-News today:

PASADENA – School district officials called on the District Attorney’s Office on Monday to reopen an investigation into potential fraud related to school improvement projects.

In an afternoon press conference, Superintendent Edwin Diaz released documents that show two contractors improperly billed the Pasadena Unified School District almost $300,000.

“We’re hoping that at least one of these individuals will be charged,” Diaz said and added he is urging the school board to begin civil action against the individuals.

District officials also released hundreds of pages of documents they claim support their allegations. The documents included invoices for work never performed and records of payments made to an unlicensed contractor working under the supervision of a district employee.

Officials also released transcripts of conversations with an unlicensed contractor in which the contractor confessed to paying kickbacks to the supervisor.

The documents were given to investigators in March.

In May, prosecutors declined to file any charges after citing poor record keeping and faulty project oversight by the district.

Sandy Gibbons, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, said Monday her office had not received Diaz’s letter requesting it revisit the case.

 

 

Sergio Corona gets a court date

Bethania Palma writes the latest chapter in the Sergio Corona story:

The District Attorney’s office Monday filed misdemeanor charges against a school board member who was Tased and arrested last month, authorities said.

Sergio Corona, 34, was charged with three counts stemming from a May 22 incident in which police Tased him twice and took him into custody, authorities said.

He faces one count each of vandalism, resisting or obstructing an officer and driving without a license.

Corona allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana and methamphetamine earlier that night, according to a police report.

The DA’s office last month sent a toxicology report back to police to confirm results but did not file drug-related charges.

 

DA takes blame for slaying

The DA’s office released their report Wednesday into the snafu surrounding the slaying of Monica Thomas-Harris, by her estranged husband. The report hit newsrooms one day after Cooley cruised to reelection.

Thomas-Harris, 37, was shot to death by “Keno” Curtis Jan. 5 in a low budget Whittier motel room. Their bodies were found by a maid doing a routine cleaning inspection.

Here’s the

report

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