Meet South Pasadena’s “Bernie Madoff”

South Pasadena’s Bernie Madoff will be in court today for arraignment:

SOUTH PASADENA – The man local authorities have dubbed “Bernie Madoff of South Pasadena” is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at Los Angeles Superior Court.

Morris Gussin is facing twenty felony counts of grand theft and securities violations in a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

He was arrested by a Federal Bureau of Investigations Task Force in Las Vegas and was extradited by South Pasadena authorities after a two and half year investigation.

Janice and Carlos Sams Cespedes said they were referred to Gussin by a mutual friend to help them go over their insurance policy and write a will after Carlos was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2004.

“She trusted him and because she trusted him, I trusted him,” Janice said. “He used her name because she’s known in the Pasadena community and unbeknownst to her he was stealing people’s money.”

Gussin is being represented by the law firm of Brown, White & Newhouse, LLP.

“(Gussin) will certainly enter a plea of not guilty to the charges,” said George Newhouse, attorney. “A great number of the charges appear to be seven or eight years old and under the law they have three years to allege grand theft.”

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South Pasadena teen dies after attending house party

Ayden Salek belonged to the American Cancer Society, was a student representative on the South Pasadena School Board and wrote for the South Pasadena High School newspaper. He died after attending a house party in Altadena Saturday night.

From Caroline An’s story:

The party had been advertised on Facebook for two weeks and was sponsored by a group of party promoters. It was hosted by an 18-year-old female at her home. 

Partygoers paid a $5 entry fee and alcohol was provided, the police statement said.

After spending approximately two hours at the party, the group of friends decided to return to South Pasadena. Salek was observed by his friends to be unconscious but breathing.

He was placed in the back of the car and driven to the residence on Diamond. When they arrived, one of his friends checked on Salek but could not find a pulse. One of them called a friend who lived nearby who reportedly knew CPR, the police statement said.

“When the friend arrived, Salek was removed from the car, CPR was begun, and 9-1-1 was called,” the statement said.

Paramedics arrived a short time later and took Salek to Huntington.

Police interviewed the party promoters and host, officials said. South Pasadena detectives are working with the county District Attorney’s Office to determine what charges may be appropriate, officials said.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday.

Video on the jump…

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