Murder Conviction in Culver City Case Stands
Murder Conviction in Culver City Case Stands
A transient Los Angeles man will remain in prison for murder after the State Supreme Court denied a case review. A jury convicted Zackariah Lehnen of a double homicide in Culver City in 2011.

In addition to the first degree homicide charge, jurors also found true two special allegations, including multiple murder. They also found true a special allegation that Lehnen used a knife to kill his victims.

According to testimony, Lehnen encountered the homeowner in a nearby park a year earlier. He sometimes sought work from the man. On the day of the murders, a 27-year-old female acquaintance of the suspect accompanied him to the home. While there, he propositioned the 27-year-old woman. When she refused the man’s sexual advances, he attacked and beat her, then repeatedly stabbed her. He then attacked the 89-year-old homeowner, and also killed him after he tried to intervene.

The suspect, who was on parole at the time of the killings, later confessed to another inmate while in jail. He also admitted to being high on methamphetamine at the time of the killings.

The man’s attorney said the trial judge erred in admitting the jailhouse confession. The petition also argued that the court did not instruct the jury to consider a lesser offense, like voluntary manslaughter. A three-judge appeals panel rejected both arguments, saying that the man voluntarily confessed to the murders. In refusing to hear the man’s appeal, the Supreme Court allowed the appeals ruling to stand.

Culver City murder lawyer


When you face charges involving homicide, hire an experienced murder lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Murder is the most serious charge you can face in California. In addition to facing the possibility of life in prison, a murder conviction can result in the death penalty. Statistically, Los Angeles juries assign the death penalty more frequently than jurors in any other California county.

Don’t risk your life on an inexperienced attorney, and don’t assume that you can’t offer an effective defense. 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.

Photo Credit: Ken Lund, Flickr.com

Antitrust Trial In Oakland Returns Not Guilty Verdict
Antitrust Trial In Oakland Returns Not Guilty Verdict
An Oakland jury acquitted an Oakland man of antitrust violations. The same jury deadlocked on a unanimous verdict against the man’s brother. Federal authorities accused the two of bid rigging in construction in Berkeley. The brothers own a well-known construction company there.

According to prosecutors, the brothers conspired to rig bids on a federal contract to update the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A grand jury indicted the men in April 2017, as part of a larger FBI probe into contracting fraud. The broader investigation has already netted some high profile convictions involving public officials.

Prosecutors contended that the brothers conspired to rig bids in order to direct contract work to a third party. The third party turned out to be a paid FBI informant. The FBI informant worked with the son of an Oakland City Councilman. He told the parties that he already had an arrangement with the person in charge of awarding the contract. To meet federal bidding regulations, he needed another firm to submit a falsely inflated bid. The councilman’s son agreed to participate, and allegedly acted as a go-between among the parties. The informant promised the brothers that in exchange for their cooperation, he would ensure that they received future business.

An earlier jury convicted the councilman’s son in a case involving federal construction at a Southern California veterans’ facility. In the Oakland case, the brothers maintained that the proposal they submitted was not phony or inflated. In addition, they claimed that the government targeted the men because they are black. The FBI informant, who is also black, has assisted the FBI in Maryland, Louisiana and Connecticut cases targeting black businessmen.

California Antitrust Attorney


This case demonstrates that it is possible to prevail against federal prosecutors, despite their high conviction rate. When you face criminal bid rigging, price fixing or market allocation charges, hire an experienced antitrust attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He takes federal cases in any circuit in the United States. He also takes state cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Don’t rely on an inexperienced attorney, and don’t assume that the best option is a guilty plea. 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 antitrust case.

Photo Credit: bloomsberries, via Flickr.com

Sex crimes charges not in the cards for Spacey, others
Sex crimes charges not in the cards for Spacey, others
The Los Angeles District Attorney will not seek sex crimes charges against actors Kevin Spacey, Anthony Anderson and Steven Seagal. According to the DA’s office, the statute of limitations had passed in cases against Seagal and Spacey. In Anderson’s case, the victim declined to cooperate with the investigation.

In Spacey’s case, a man alleged that the actor had assaulted him in 1992. Prosecutors say they’re still considering an allegation against the actor related to a 2016 complaint. In addition, prosecutors in the United Kingdom are reviewing six allegations against Spacey spanning 22 years.

Although Spacey does not face any criminal allegations, his career has suffered since actor Anthony Rapp disclosed Spacey’s advances. Rapp was just 14 at the time he encountered Spacey. Following the disclosure, Netflix removed him as the central character in “House of Cards.” His movie, “Billionaire Boys Club” failed at the box office. Further, director Ridley Scott hastily removed Spacey from “All the Money in the World.”

In January, the DA’s office announced that it was investigating Seagal after two actresses made sexual assault claims against him. In one instance, a complainant said Seagal raped her in 1994. Another woman claimed that Seagal groped her during an audition in 2002. Actresses Juliana Margulies, Jenny McCarthy and Portia de Rossi have all alleged inappropriate behavior involving Seagal.

Anthony Anderson, who currently appears in black-ish, will not face charges following a July 2018 sexual assault complaint. Anderson previously weathered at least two sexual assault allegations dating to 2004. In the most recent case, a caterer alleged that Anderson assaulted her but declined to cooperate with the investigation.

Los Angeles sex crimes lawyer


When you face charges for sexual offenses, hire an experienced sex crimes lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

These cases demonstrate the seriousness of sexual offense allegations. They can have a major impact on your career, even when the DA doesn’t file charges. That’s why your first move in a sexual assault defense should be to hire an experienced defense attorney. An experienced, aggressive attorney will fight for your rights and freedom.

Don’t work with an attorney who doesn’t want to take your case, and don’t assume that there’s nothing you can do. 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.

Photo Credit: Sergey Nikishov, via Flickr.com

Securities Fraud Charges Hit Sherman Oaks Real Estate Firm
Securities Fraud Charges Hit Sherman Oaks Real Estate Firm
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed securities fraud charges against five Florida residents last month. The group illegally sold securities of a Sherman Oaks real estate investment firm.

The firm, Woodbridge Group, filed for bankruptcy in December 2017. The SEC alleges that the firm operated as a Ponzi scheme. At one time, the scheme involved more than a billion dollars of investor money. The five Florida defendants were among the company’s top sales people but were not registered brokers. Investigators say that the small group sold nearly $250 million of unregistered securities to about 1,600 investors. They also collected millions in commissions on the sales of the phony securities.

Woodbridge owned several signature properties in the Los Angeles area, including the former home of singers Sonny and Cher. The company also owns prime properties in Mount Olympus, Hidden Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills.

The defendants conducted real estate investing and financial planning classes in Florida that targeted retirement investors. They also placed newspaper and radio ads promoting investment in Woodbridge. The company’s bankruptcy settlement is addressing the issue of property ownership. Earlier this year, the company sought bids from local real estate brokers to sell its entire property portfolio. Property sales are unlikely to recoup all of the investors’ funds, since Woodbridge developed a reputation for overpaying for properties.

Sherman Oaks securities fraud attorney


Investment fraud can carry serious penalties. In addition to civil penalties, criminal convictions can result in prison terms of up to 20 years. When you face securities fraud charges, hire an experienced securities fraud attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He takes federal cases in any US circuit. He also takes state cases in courts in Southern California.

Securities fraud cases often generate a lot of interest because they can involve high dollar amounts. The most important element to remember is not the amount of the fraud but the experience of your defense attorney. Don’t rely on inexperience. Choose an attorney who will aggressively 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 securities fraud case.

Embezzlement Charge for North Hollywood Parent
Embezzlement Charge for North Hollywood Parent
A volunteer parent at a North Hollywood middle school faces embezzlement charges. Police arrested the woman last month after school officials noticed missing money.

The woman allegedly took money raised for field trips and after-school programs. Walter Reed Middle School is located in the Studio City area, and opened in 1939. Initially called North Hollywood Junior High, school district officials renamed the building to honor US Army Major Walter Reed.

School officials did not indicate how much money the woman took, or when they believe she began taking money. The suspect was released on a $20,000 bail.

North Hollywood Embezzlement lawyer


When you face charges for stealing money from your employer, hire an experienced embezzlement lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has nearly 35 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Embezzlement is a form of grand theft. Although volunteers are not employees, the state can bring embezzlement charges against anyone in a position of trust. When you face accusations of workplace theft, your best defense strategy is to hire an experienced attorney. An experienced defense attorney can help you negotiate the criminal justice system and work toward a positive outcome.

Most theft victims want to be made whole. Long prison sentences don’t accomplish this, and judges are sensitive to that. Returning the stolen resources can put a defendant in a favorable light in court. As your defense attorney, Mr. Helfend’s 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 outcome for your case.

Don’t settle for an inexperirenced attorney, and don’t attempt to defend 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 embezzlement case.

Photo Credit: Rochelle Hartman, via Flickr.com

Fraud Charges For Inglewood Brothers
Fraud Charges For Inglewood Brothers
An Inglewood man, the man’s wife and his brother face charges of fraud following their arrests last month. According to investigators, the men targeted people looking to obtain permanent legal resident status in the United States.

Investigators say that the men operated a consulting firm which dispensed legal advice. Neither man holds a California law license. In addition, one man’s wife faces charges of tax evasion and conspiracy. According to prosecutors, the men charged clients thousands of dollars for fraudulent legal assistance.

The trio will face nearly two dozen grand theft charges, in addition to conspiracy to violate Immigration Consultants Act. They will return to court in Los Angeles County later this month for matters related to the case.

Los Angeles fraud attorney

When you face charges of defrauding someone, hire an experienced fraud attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

His first priority will be to get the charges against you reduced or dropped altogether. Avoiding felony charges in California is important because of the state’s Three Strikes Law. An accumulation of felony convictions can result in lifetime imprisonment. When eliminating or reducing charges is not possible, he will work toward the best possible outcome for your case.

Mr. Helfend manages each case personally, so you will work directly with him on your defense. His plain-English style means that you will always know the status of your case.

Having an experienced defense attorney by your side is your best defense strategy, regardless of the charges against you. Don’t rely on an inexperienced attorney, and don’t attempt to defend yourself.

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.

Photo Credit: Matt Biddulph, via Flickr.com

Identity Theft Charges for Burbank ICE Detainee
Identity Theft Charges for Burbank ICE Detainee
A Burbank man already detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) now faces
identity theft charges. ICE investigators claim the man, who faces trial for operating fraudulent medical clinics illegally obtained US citizenship.

Investigators say the man made false statements on a passport application and lied to obtain citizenship. According to authorities, the man entered the United States 15 years ago using a stolen identity and a fake passport. Once inside the country, the man concocted a false story about his origins. The man is from Armenia, but he told Customs and Immigration that he was from Azerbaijan. He claimed that ethnic forces murdered both of his parents and he fled to the US through Russia.

Officials say that he lied about his country of origin, his date of birth, and the deaths of his parents. The United States collected that information as part of his citizenship application. Following his grant of citizenship, the man operated a series of fake medical clinics to sell narcotics prescriptions.

Authorities arrested him last summer, along with a dozen other people, in connection with the prescription drug sales. In that scheme, investigators say the group diverted at least 2 million oxycodone and other opioids to the black market. The man is already facing more than 100 years in prison on the drug charges. If convicted of the identity theft, he will lose his US citizenship.

Los Angeles Identity Theft Lawyer


Federal and state authorities pay close attention to identity-related crimes. When you face identity theft charges, hire an experienced identity theft lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes identity theft cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Mr. Helfend’s first priority will be to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. When that’s not a possibility, he will work toward the best possible outcome for your 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 identity theft case.

Photo Credit: Tony Webster, via Flickr.com

DUI Death Gives 15 Year Sentence to Woman
DUI Death Gives 15 Year Sentence to Woman
An Oceanside woman will spend 15 years to life in prison for a DUI death there. The defendant struck and killed a homeless man while driving home after a night of drinking.

The victim, a 69-year-old-transient, became lodged in the woman’s windshield. The impact of the crash severed the man’s foot. Instead of stopping, she drove to her neighborhood and abandoned her vehicle. She walked home, contacted her boyfriend regarding the incident and changed her clothes. Meanwhile, the victim bled to death from his injuries

Investigators discovered that the woman had a blood-alcohol level of .22, nearly three times the legal limit. According to her, she had five alcoholic drinks and an undetermined amount of beer before getting into her car. A jury convicted her of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter while intoxicated and hit and run causing death. Her trial ended in April, but she recently returned to court for sentencing.

The incident made headlines around the world when it occurred in July 2016. In court, the woman’s defense counsel did not deny that she was drunk, or that she hit the victim. Instead, he said that the accident occurred when the woman fell asleep behind the wheel.

A video of the incident showed the woman striking the man while he was on the sidewalk. He argued that she had fallen asleep, and that caused the car to enter the walkway. Had the jury accepted his argument, they could not have found the woman guilty of homicide.

Los Angeles DUI Lawyer


When you face arrest for a DUI in LA, hire an experienced DUI lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He has defended thousands of Southern Californians in that time.

About two-thirds of drunk driving cases result in misdemeanor charges. When an accident involves an injury or death, however, felony charges result. Felony charges are far more serious and can result in a lengthy prison sentence, depending upon the circumstances.

Don’t rely on an inexperienced attorney, and don’t assume that there’s nothing you can do to help yourself. 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.

Photo Credit: Tony Webster, via Flickr.com

Drug possession warrants for Los Angeles homeless may disappear
Drug possession warrants for Los Angeles homeless may disappear
Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore suggests that the county eliminate warrants for low-level offenses like drug possession for homeless people. According to the chief, many homeless individuals accumulate multiple arrest warrants. When officers encounter a homeless person with a warrant, they must arrest him or her.

Often, the arrests are for low-level offenses. Nearly a quarter of all warrants are for failure to appear in court. Another 10% of warrants are for drug possession. In 2016, police made more than 14,000 arrests of homeless individuals. The number of “homeless” arrests has increased by more than 30% over a five-year period.

Often, the court and public defenders have no way to contact homeless defendants. They miss scheduled court dates, which results in the issuance of a warrant. City attorneys estimate that the system may contain hundreds of thousands of warrants for homeless individuals.

In 2015, San Francisco stopped issuing warrants for no-show defendants, and eliminated 65,000 warrants from their system. Moore is not suggesting that the courts ignore defendants who don’t show up for a court date. Instead, he proposes handling warrants and court appearances differently for defendants who live on the streets.

The City has been experimenting with ways to reduce court appearances by homeless individuals. In a limited program, more than 300 homeless individuals participated in a citation elimination program. As a result, the City eliminated more than 1,000 citations but that’s a small fraction of the number of outstanding citations.

The City hopes to find ways to break the cycle of citations, arrests and jailing of homeless people. According to the city, it puts tremendous stress and expense on the system, while producing little in terms of results.

Los Angeles drug possession attorney


When you have a warrant for drug crimes or other minor matters, hire an experienced drug possession attorney like Robert Helfend. Often people don’t understand the legal remedies available to them. As a result, they risk arrest and detention over matters that could be handled easily by an experienced 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 drug possession case.

Photo Credit: Vi Bella, via Flickr.com

Murder Conviction for Baldwin Hills Man
Murder Conviction for Baldwin Hills Man
A Baldwin Hills man faces 40 years in prison for the murder of teen. According to prosecutors, the man shot 18-year-old Juan Castillo to death. Castillo was a recent graduate of Santa Monica High School, where he played football. He served as the team’s captain.

Paramedics found the man’s body on February 26, 2017. The victim suffered a single gunshot wound to the head. Police say that the victim and the suspect had a brief confrontation. The suspect retrieved a gun from his car and shot the victim in the head. Police say that an acquaintance drove the wounded man to an area near the UCLA Medical Center, but left him in the street.

Police arrested the man, who already has a felony conviction, three months after the shooting. During the arrest, police found a pistol that matched witness descriptions of the gun used in the homicide.

The man will return to court on October 12 for sentencing. At that time, he will face a sentence of 40 years to life in prison.

Santa Monica murder attorney


Homicide is the most serious charge you can face in California. When you face homicide charges, your best defense strategy is to hire an experienced murder attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He takes homicide cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

While California has not executed a prisoner in more than a decade, juries around the country still apply the death penalty in certain cases. Second-degree murder cases don’t result in the death penalty – but they can still produce a life sentence.

Don’t settle for an inexperienced attorney when your life is literally at stake. Instead, hire an experienced attorney who knows what it takes to provide a successful felony defense.

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.

Photo Credit: Peter Smarik