Murder Suspect Faces Death Penalty in Hollywood Killings
Murder Suspect Faces Death Penalty in Hollywood Killings
A man convicted of murder in the stabbing deaths of two women in Hollywood faces the death penalty. Michael Gargiulo, an air conditioner repairman, maintains his innocence following his August conviction. A jury found him guilty of the deaths of two women in 2001 and 2005. He is also suspected in the death of a neighbor in Chicago in 1993. Based on Gargiulo’s statements, police believe he may be responsible for more murders.

Prosecutors painted Gargiulo as a serial killer who derived a psychosexual thrill from killing women. In both cases, the killer attacked and mutilated the victims in their homes. A third woman who survived an attack in Santa Monica in 2008 testified against the man in court. Also testifying was actor Aston Kutcher, who planned a date with one of the victims the day she died. Kutcher testified that he had plans to pick up one of the victims, who was a student at the time of her death. He said he was late and when he knocked on her door, there was no answer. He looked in the window and saw a “wine stain” on the carpet. Police later said the stain was the victim’s blood.

Kutcher testified that he contacted police immediately upon learning of the woman’s death. He said he knew his fingerprints were on the woman’s door and thought the police might consider him a suspect. Investigators told Kutcher that he was never considered a suspect. At the time of the woman’s death in 2001, Kutcher was starring in the Fox television show, “That 70’s Show.”

Police developed Garguilo as a suspect after collecting his blood at the scene of the unsuccessful Santa Monica attack. They arrested him two months later. Prosecutors in Illinois have charged Gargiulo with murder but will not try their case until the conclusion of the California cases. Although Gargiulo has been incarcerated since 2008, numerous delays prevented his trial from moving forward. The delays arose because Gargiulo changed attorneys multiple times. Also, he represented himself for a period of about three years. Gargiulo proclaimed his innocence in a 2011 episode of the CBS true-crime show, “48 Hours.”

In August, a jury convicted the man of two counts of first-degree murder and special allegations of multiple murders and lying in wait. The special allegations make Gargiulo eligible for the death penalty. In addition, the jury convicted him of one count of attempted murder and attempted escape.

Santa Monica murder lawyer


When you face charges for homicide in Santa Monica, hire an experienced murder lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has 35 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

When you face homicide charges in California, your life is literally at stake. Circumstances of the case against you can make you eligible for the death penalty. While the current governor has issued an execution moratorium, you can still receive the death penalty. Currently, about 750 Californians sit on death row awaiting execution.

Because the consequences of the death penalty are permanent, you need to have an aggressive, experienced attorney working on your defense. This case demonstrates the impact of switching attorneys and even representing yourself. Eleven years between arrest and conviction is a long time to wait for trial. An effective, aggressive attorney can help guide you through trial preparation, and the trial process.

Don’t rely on inexperience and don’t attempt to represent yourself in a homicide case. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County murder case.

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A federal judge ordered StarKist Tuna to pay a $100M fine for antitrust violations. The company participated in a two-year price-fixing scam with other tuna producers to artificially inflate canned tuna prices.

StarKist was the last of three companies to plead guilty in the scam. The company had sought to lower the fine to $50M, saying that a $100M fine could bankrupt it. The judge declined the request, noting the company’s assets and its ability to borrow money. The company can also seek an extended payment schedule on the fine. The current payment schedule calls on the company to pay $16M before the end of 2020. Between 2021 and 2024, the company will pay $21M per year in fines.

A failed attempt to buy Bumble Bee (a StarKist competitor) by Thai Union Group revealed the scam in 2015. Thai Union Group owns Chicken of the Sea, a participant in the scam. Chicken of the Sea agreed to cooperate with federal investigators in exchange for avoiding prosecution. Bumble Bee Foods pleaded guilty in 2017 and paid a $25M fine. Prosecutors in that case wanted a $136M fine against Bumble Bee Foods. They chose to seek a lower amount because a high fine would have bankrupted the company. The three companies are also facing civil lawsuits related to the scam from retailers like Walmart, Target and Kroger. The retailers claim that the price fixing scheme artificially inflated the price of tuna, and damaged their sales. The retailers have already settled similar claims against Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee.

Federal Criminal Antitrust Attorney


When you face charges of criminal anticompetitive practices, hire an experienced antitrust attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has 35 years of experience as a federal criminal defense attorney. He takes cases in any US District Court. He also takes state-level cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Anticompetitive practices like price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation can lead to both criminal and civil complaints. When you face criminal charges, it’s essential to work with an experienced, aggressive attorney. Federal prosecutors are aggressive, so you need to fight back with an attorney who will stand up for you.

Don’t settle for inexperience when your freedom is at stake. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County antitrust case.

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Sex crimes land Los Angeles coach in prison for 71 years
Sex crimes land Los Angeles coach in prison for 71 years
A former San Fernando and Sun Valley wrestling coach will spend 71 years in prison for sex crimes. The man worked in a number of different schools for 25 years before complaints surfaced about the man. According to victims, the coach groomed students, then coerced them into performing sex acts with him and other students.

The man told students that “loyalty” was important above all other things to prevent them from informing authorities. Prosecutors presented 9 victims who were pre-teens at the time the abuse began. A jury convicted the man in May of 47 felonies that occurred between 1991 and 2017.

The man coached children at both John H. Francis Polytechnic High School and the Boys and Girls Club. According to investigators, the abuse occurred on school’s campus and in vehicles owned by the Boys and Girls Club. Additionally, some abusive acts occurred in the coach’s personal vehicles and in the victims’ homes.

At least twelve victims, including those who brought criminal charges, are suing the LAUSD and the Boys and Girls Club. In the lawsuit, the victims claim that the LAUSD missed obvious warning signs regarding the coach. The lawsuit contends that the organizations failed to properly supervise the coach, enabling him to abuse his victims. A female campus aide at the high school lodged a complaint against the coach in 2015. In that incident, the victim said the coach propositioned her and offered money for sex. The school responded to the complaint by suspending the man for one year.

Police arrested the coach in 2017 after a victim filmed a sexual encounter between herself and the coach. She turned the video over to the Los Angeles Police Department. She did not report the matter to the LAUSD because she did not think the LAUSD would believe her.

Los Angeles sex crimes lawyer


When you face charges for sexual offenses, hire an experienced sex crimes lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has 35 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes sex offense cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Convictions for sexual offenses aren’t like other convictions. In most cases, a sexual offense conviction will require you to register as a sex offender. That designation will follow you around no matter where you go.

It will impact your ability to find housing and employment. It can also affect your ability to travel outside the country. You may also need to follow restrictions on computer usage, and who you can live with and near. In addition, local law enforcement officials will conduct compliance checks to ensure that your registration information is up to date. If you fail to register or update your registration, you could return to prison.

Your best defense is an aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney, who will work hard to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County sex crimes case.

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Securities Fraud Sentence for Long Island Men
Securities Fraud Sentence for Long Island Men
Two Long Island, NY residents who targeted elderly investors will spend 6-10 years in federal prison for securities fraud. The men were just two of more than a dozen people indicted in the scheme in July 2017.Other indicted participants worked in Los Angeles, San Diego and St. Petersburg, FL.

Investigators said the team operated a “pump-and-dump” investment fraud that targeted vulnerable investors. The participants sold essentially worthless stocks whose price had been artificially inflated. The two Long Island residents operated a “boiler room” that tried to pressure investors to purchase the inflated stocks.

As part of the plea agreement, one man pleaded guilty to securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. The other man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The judge in the case ordered both men to pay restitution to their victims. The judge also ordered them to forfeit assets.

In some cases, the men told investors that the Walt Disney Company was about to purchase a stock he was selling. Another pitch led investors to believe that a stock being offered had similar potential to Twitter. Two other participants have already been sentenced in the scam. Four participants are still awaiting trial and the rest have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Los Angeles securities fraud attorney


When you face federal or state charges related to investment fraud, hire an experienced securities fraud attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has 35 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes federal cases in any US District. He also takes state-level cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Mr. Helfend practices criminal defense exclusively and directly manages every case he accepts. He does not pass cases to less experienced attorneys. This practice can sometimes happen in larger, less personal law firms.

His plain-English style also means that you’ll always know the exact status of your case. He will accompany you to every court appearance and will help you navigate the federal justice system.

Don’t settle for an inexperienced attorney and don’t assume that a plea bargain is your best defense strategy. Instead, contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County securities fraud case.

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Embezzlement Sentence For Credit Union Manager
Embezzlement Sentence For Credit Union Manager
The former manager of the CBS Employees Federal Credit Union will spend 14 years in federal prison for embezzlement. The scheme, which bankrupted the credit union, went unnoticed for more than two decades. During that time, the man took more than $40M from the credit union.

He spent the money on luxury goods, trips and gambling. He also bought luxury cars, traveled on a private jet and paid his wife a $5,000 per week allowance. The same day authorities announced the charges against the man, the credit union closed its doors. The University Credit Union in Los Angeles assumed the bankrupt credit union’s assets and operations.

As part of the plea deal, the man agreed to forfeit property, jewelry and luxury vehicles. He spent much of the stolen money on a gambling habit and services. He was able to move depositor funds to his accounts by making online payments to himself. He also forged the signatures of other employees on checks written to himself.

A credit union employee discovered the scheme after finding a $35,000 check written to the manager with no explanation. The employee quietly conducted an audit for the 2018 calendar year and found nearly $4M in similar payments. The following week, the credit union suspended the manager. The same day, the manager’s wife called police to say that her husband was planning to leave the country. Police took the man into custody immediately.

Following his arrest, he admitted to stealing money from the credit union for 20 years. Prior to working as the credit union manager, the man worked as a bank examiner. He told investigators that his past experience helped him to disguise the fraud.

Los Angeles embezzlement lawyer


When you face charges for work-related theft, hire an experienced embezzlement lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes embezzlement cases in any US District Court. He also takes state-level cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Mr. Helfend specializes exclusively in criminal defense. He has earned a reputation as an aggressive criminal defense attorney, and knows what it takes to succeed in court. He does not judge his clients based on the charges against them. His first priority is to get the charges against his clients reduced or dropped. When that’s not possible, he will work toward the best possible resolution to each client’s case.

Don’t settle for an inexperienced attorney. Instead, hire counsel with the knowledge and experience to defend you in court!Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County embezzlement case.

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Fraud Charges for Los Angeles area medical practitioners
Fraud Charges for Los Angeles area medical practitioners
Federal authorities charged several Los Angeles County medical practitioners with fraud earlier this month. Investigators accused providers from Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Alhambra, Whittier, Los Angeles and Huntington Beach of bilking Medicare and Medicaid. Another provider from Calabasas faces charges of conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud.

Investigators say that the defendants created or participated in billing schemes worth about $150 million. In most cases, the doctors ordered unnecessary tests and prescriptions. In other cases, they submitted bills for services that they never provided.

Other providers from North Hollywood and Valley Village face charges of trying to defraud Medi-Cal of $10M. In that case, the providers submitted bills for services, testing and prescriptions that were not provided.

Investigators from multiple agencies, including the FBI and California agencies participated in the investigations and arrests.

Los Angeles Fraud Attorney


When you face charges of insurance fraud or related fraudulent activities, your best defense is to hire an experienced Los Angeles fraud attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes federal cases in any US District Court. He also takes state-level cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Mr. Helfend does not judge his clients based on the charges against them. Instead, he simply works hard to get the charges reduced or dropped. When that’s not possible, he will work toward the best possible resolution to your case.

Convictions for insurance fraud can have a devastating effect on your ability to practice and maintain your professional licensure. These consequences can carry on well after you have resolved the case against you.

Don’t settle for an inexperienced attorney, and don’t assume that a plea bargain is your best option in a federal case. Instead, contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County fraud case.

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Identity Theft Charges in $14M movie scam
Identity Theft Charges in $14M movie scam
A Manhattan Beach man faces charges of aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and money laundering. According to federal prosecutors, the man told would-be investors that he would use their money to produce a feature film. Authorities say the man collected $14M.

Much of the money came from overseas investors. Prosecutors say the man targeted Korean and Chinese investors. The film, which was not an active project, was supposed to feature figures from 19th century United States history. The man told investors that Netflix had agreed to distribute the finished project. He falsified documents and forged signatures to convince investors of the project’s legitimacy.

The man initiated the scam in 2015, when he approached a Korean investment group with a script. He claimed that his brother wrote the film. After the Korean investment group gave the man an initial investment, he approached a Chinese investment group. He used the same forged Netflix distribution agreement to convince the Chinese investors to wire money. He then signed Don Murphy, a well-known Hollywood producer to produce the film. Murphy terminated his involvement with the picture in 2017.

The man then told his investors that he had terminated the distribution agreement with Netflix. Instead, the picture would be distributed by Amblin Partners, owned in part by Steven Spielberg. Amblin Partners denied any involvement in the deal. Investigators say the man used about $5M of the money to purchase a Manhattan Beach home and transferred more than $4M to another of his business ventures. If convicted on all charges, the man could spend 32 years in federal prison.

Manhattan Beach Identity Theft Lawyer


When you face charges related to identity crimes, hire an experienced identity theft lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has 35 years of experience in federal criminal defense. He takes cases in any US District Court. He also takes state-level cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Identity theft violates both federal and state laws. You can be prosecuted in either or both court systems. That’s why you need the help of an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney. Robert Helfend has defended thousands of clients in both federal and state courts.

His first priority will be to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. When that’s not possible, he will work toward the best possible resolution to your case. Don’t settle for inexperience and don’t assume that your best approach in federal court is to plead guilty.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County identity theft case.

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Domestic Violence Arrest for Los Angeles Actor
Domestic Violence Arrest for Los Angeles Actor
A Hollywood actor faces felony domestic violence violence charge following an altercation with his wife. Neighbors of the couple called police following a loud argument between the pair.

After officers arrived, they separated the couple. They reported that the actor warned his wife not to say anything to the officers. He also grabbed her arm during the argument and refused to let her leave the area at some point during the argument. The woman told police that her arm hurt, but she did not believe it warranted additional medical attention. She also asked police not to arrest her husband.

The actor now faces one felony charge of domestic abuse. He also faces two misdemeanor charges. They include false imprisonment and dissuading another from reporting a crime.

Los Angeles domestic violence attorney


When you face charges for domestic abuse, hire an experienced domestic violence attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has 35 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California. In his more than three decades of practice, he has defended thousands of Californians against a variety of charges.

This case illustrates that the police can arrest (and prosecutors can charge) people even when the “victim” doesn’t want to pursue charges. That’s why you need an experienced attorney by your side. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system, and provide guidance for you and your family during a difficult time.

Mr. Helfend’s first priority will be to get the charges reduced or dropped. When that’s not possible, he will work toward the best possible resolution for your case. California law makes particular requirements for withdrawing domestic abuse complaints in court. When these circumstances apply to you, you certainly need an experienced attorney to help you and your family.

Don’t risk your family relationships on an inexperienced attorney. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County domestic violence case.

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DUI arrests over Labor Day weekend jump in Santa Clarita Valley
DUI arrests over Labor Day weekend jump in Santa Clarita Valley
The California Highway Patrol reported 19 DUI arrests in the Santa Clarita Valley area over Labor Day weekend. Further, 16 of the 19 people arrested had previous convictions for impaired driving.

Throughout the state, the CHP reported 45 deaths from highway crashes and nearly 1,100 drunk-driving arrests. Of the 45 traffic deaths, about three-fourths of those killed were not wearing seatbelts when they died. The Labor Day “maximum enforcement period” began on August 30 and concluded on Monday, September 2 at 11:59 PM. The CHP specifically targeted speeders and impaired drivers this year. The Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest traffic periods of the year in California.

At least one Labor Day DUI in LA proved to be fatal. A 62-year-old Los Angeles resident died after being struck by a 30-year-old Colton man on the 10 Freeway in Colton. The impaired driver slammed into a 2004 Saturn Ion, which was idling in stopped traffic on the freeway. The impaired driver’s vehicle overturned from the force of the impact. Rescue personnel transported the victim to the hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Los Angeles DUI Lawyer


When you face charges for impaired driving, hire an experienced DUI lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has 35 years of experience in drunk driving defense. He takes impaired driving cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

A drunk driving conviction can have long-lasting consequences for you. Drunk driving convictions trigger mandatory penalties, like license suspensions. You could also be required to attach an interlock device to your car, pay high fines, serve jail time, and repeat driver training courses. Your insurance costs will also rise markedly.

A drunk driving conviction can also have other, less obvious consequences. If you plan to cross the border into Canada or Mexico – even for a short visit – a drunk driving conviction can keep you from entering these countries. That’s especially important if you work in the film industry, as many production companies film in Canada or Mexico.

These countries can declare you “criminally inadmissible” forcing you to return to the United States immediately. This period of inadmissibility can last for 10 years or more, depending on the circumstances of your case. These restrictions can apply, even with a misdemeanor conviction. Canada, for example, does not look at the severity of your conviction in the US, but instead equates your action to its own standards for criminal responsibility. A misdemeanor drunk driving charge in the United States could be treated like a felony elsewhere.

It’s also important to remember that the Customs agencies in Canada and Mexico have full access to the FBI database of arrests. There is virtually no likelihood that your drunk driving arrest will go unnoticed at a border crossing! Whether or not you intend to drive in a foreign country has absolutely no bearing on your admissibility at the border. Your arrest history alone can result in being denied admission, regardless of the reason for your visit or how long you intend to stay.

Don’t risk your livelihood on an inexperienced attorney. You need an experienced attorney at your side. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County DUI case.

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Drug possession plea for Los Angeles gang boss
Drug possession plea for Los Angeles gang boss
A man who allegedly ran a drug operation for the Sinaloa cartel pleaded guilty in Ventura County to drug possession charges. According to the man’s attorney, he used his automobile sales business as a stash house. Beyond that, the attorney says that the man has no connection to the cartel.

Authorities arrested the man last October following a raid on his business. Police recovered 161 pounds of methamphetamine, 121 pounds of cocaine, 13.2 pounds of heroin, 6.6 pounds of fentanyl and hundreds of fentanyl pills during the raid. They also seized a number of weapons. The contraband had an estimated street value of nearly $11M. Police began an investigation into the bulk sale of drugs to Ventura County dealers in 2017. The investigation lasted more than a year and led to the man’s business.

Initially, prosecutors charged the man with nine drug-related felonies. To avoid a longer prison sentence, the man pleaded guilty to the sale and transportation of more than 20 pounds of methamphetamine; possessing more than a kilogram of heroin; possession of a controlled substance with a firearm and a special allegation of possessing a weapon and heroin.

The man faces a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison. He is currently free on a $250,000 bond and will return to court on October 17 for sentencing.

Los Angeles drug possession attorney


When you face charges related to drug crimes, hire an experienced drug possession attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend takes drug crimes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California. Mr. Helfend works in multiple jurisdictions and can assist you regardless of where and how you are charged.

Many Californians find themselves in prison for drug related offenses, even as the state is beginning to change its approach to drug possession. Drug crimes that involve certain drugs – like methamphetamine and heroin – are not eligible for reduced sentences.

When you face serious drug possession charges, your best defense is to hire an experienced, aggressive attorney who will fight for your rights and freedom. Mr. Helfend’s first priority is to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. When that’s not possible, he will work toward the best possible resolution for your case.

Don’t settle for inexperience and don’t attempt to represent yourself in court. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County drug possession case.
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