California Criminal Attorney Blog

An Orange County woman was sentenced to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to crimes related to mortgage fraud.  Najia Jalan, 31, of Costa Mesa, used different companies such as United Mortgage Protection, OC NonProfit, American Consumer Law Center, and National Legal Help Center to scam people into paying large fees for legal services related to their mortgages.  Jalan is not a licensed attorney and it was unclear if she ever provided any services to the victims.

Julan, and a co-defendant were previously sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2012 for falsely claiming they would provide legal representation for consumers with National Legal Help Center, despite the fact that neither were attorneys.  National Legal Help Center and the other companies promised the victims results within specified time frame and charged between $1,000 to $10,000.

Julan pleaded guilty in July  in Los Angeles to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.  In addition to receiving six years in federal prison, Julan was also ordered to pay her victims  $236,000 in restitution.  After being released from prison, Julan will then serve three years of supervised release.


Andrew Michaels, 19, of Laguna Niguel was arrested Saturday following the death of a San Clemente man who was killed while crossing the street on his skateboard.  Cesar Medina, 23, was rushed to Mission Hospital after being struck by a black pickup truck around 9:00 p.m. Friday.  The pickup fled the scene and never stopped to aid Medina.  When Medina arrived to the hospital, it was learned that he was the brother of one of the E.R. nurses who happened to be working that night at the Mission Viejo hospital.

Orange County Sheriff investigators tracked the pickup back to Michaels’ Laguna Niguel home where he was arrested.  Michaels is currently awaiting a court hearing and being held in Orange County Jail on $500,000 bond.

Witnesses told authorities that Medina was in the crosswalk with the “walk” sign on when he was struck.  Michaels’ Dodge Ram pickup was found at his home and is the vehicle law enforcement officers think was the vehicle that struck Medina.

Michaels is charged with a felony hit and run, which means he can spend up to 4 years in state prison along with having his driver’s license revoked and paying restitution to the victim’s family.  Vehicle Code Section 20002 governs what is required if someone who, while driving a motor vehicle causes any damage to persons or property.  Failure to comply with these strict requirements can result in criminal prosecution.




Saudi Prince Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud, 28 was arrested after an employee at his Beverly Hills estate told police he tried to force her to perform oral sex on her.  Prince Al-Saudi was released on $300,000 bail.

Neighbors in the exclusive neighborhood reported to police they saw a woman bleeding and screaming for help as she was attempting to climb over the walls of the $37 million  compound.  The prince is charged with forcible oral copulation, false imprisonment, and battery.  According to reports, other women have come forward since the arrest to accuse the Saudi prince of similar acts of sexual assault.

According to news reports, a civil case was filed alleging false imprisonment, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other similar claims by three women.  The civil complaint seeks unspecified damages.   It is important to keep in mind, the prince is merely charged with the allegations and has not been found guilty nor has he pleaded guilty in court.  It is also important to note that a civil claim has also been filed and very close in time to the sexual assault allegations.

Prince Majed Abdulaziz-Alsaud does not appear to have diplomatic immunity which means he is not afforded protection from his government and can be criminally prosecuted for any alleged sexual assault.  If convicted, the prince faces a mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender, prison and deportation should he not be a citizen of the United States.

Filing of a civil complaint calls into question the credibility of the alleged victims.  Civil complaints are typically not filed against a suspect of a criminal sexual assault unless the alleged defendant has assets that make such a filing appealing to civil attorneys.  Also, it is almost required to file a criminal complaint with law enforcement in order to prevail in a civil action for intentional torts.  This is because a person who is a victim of a sexual assault should reasonably be expected to report the crime first before seeking civil remedies.  And, if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty to the criminal charges, it makes the civil case for money damages that much easier.

News outlets are also reporting the prince may have fled the United States and returned to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Michael J. Stewart, 68, of San Clemente was found guilty in federal court of 11 counts of mail fraud.  It took the jury six hours to reach their verdict against a man who once had a thriving real estate investment firm.  Stewart, co-woned the firm Pacific Property Assets (PPA) along with John J. Packard, 65 of Long Beach.  Packard had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of fraud in exchange for his cooperation and testimony against Stewart.

PPA was founded in 1999 and took advantage of the strong real estate market.  PPA would obtain bank loans and cash from private investors to buy fixer-upper apartment buildings in California and Arizona.  After the properties were remodeled, they would then sell them for a significant profit.  However, when the real estate market collapsed, so did PPA’s profits.  By 2008, PPA was losing an estimated $2 million per month.

The prosecutor argued to the jury that when PPA began to lose money, they resorted to lies and deceptions of the company’s strength to keep the money flowing.  Many of the investors were elderly people who lost their entire savings.  In total, prosecutors alleged PPA became a ponzu scheme where they would seek new investors to pay back older investors.  In total, it was testified that losses reached $170 million.

Stewart, faces up to 220 years in federal prison however, it is expected he will be sentenced to somewhere around 20 years.  Packard, will not be sentenced until after Stewarts November 2, 2015 sentencing date.  Packard also faces significant time but is expected to be sentenced to significantly less time than Stewart due to his cooperation with authorities.

White collar crimes, include a variety of different type of crimes from embezzlement, insurance fraud, stock fraud and ponzu schemes to name a few.  If you are being investigated for a white collar crime, contact our office for a free consultation at 877-750-7550.

A former Corona del Mar High School tutor who was charged with 20 felony counts of computer access fraud has pleaded guilty.  Timothy Lai, 29, admitted to illegally changing several students grades by using a USB device that he attached to teachers computers.  Once the device was attached, it was able to pick up keystrokes that he later used to assist the students.  One of the teachers noticed a change of grades and another teacher found a USB device attached to their computer which kicked off an investigation.

Lai, fled the country and was not arrested until October 2014 when he returned to the United States.  Lai plead guilty to 20 felony counts of computer access fraud and one felony count of burglary in the second degree.  He was sentenced to one year in county jail and placed on five years of probation.  Absent this plea agreement, Lai faced up to 16 years in state prison.

Penal Code Section 502(c)(4) is the knowingly accessing without permission the computer of another to alter, add, delete or destroy data.  This section carries a maximum punishment of 3 years in state prison.  If you are being investigated for a crime involving computer access fraud, call our office today for a free consultation at 877-750-7550.

Ryan Patrick Natividad, a 30-year-old resident of Corona was arrested and charged with several felony counts related to a worker’s compensation claim he made.  Natividad, claimed he injured his fist while attempting to prevent an arrestee from falling into a wall while being escorted to the police car.

Natividad, a Costa Mesa police officer was directed by the police department to seek medical attention for his injury but an internal investigation revealed there were discrepancies as to how and when the injury occurred.

If convicted, Natividad faces up to six years in prison, fines and the likely loss of a carrier.

Worker’s compensation is a fund that both California employers and employees pay into to pay for work related injuries.  Worker’s Compensation fraud typically involves workers making false claims of injuries sustained on the job while employers are likely to face similar charges if they fail to pay the appropriate fees into the fund.

If you need to speak to an attorney representing clients accused of workers compensation fraud, call our office at 877-750-7550 for a free consultation.

Dr. Bruce Hagadorn, 56, was charged in Orange County Superior Court with one felony count of embezzlement and eight felony counts of tax evasion.  If convicted, Hagadorn faces up to 10 years in prison and the potential loss of his California Medical license.

Hagadorn, the chief of staff at Irvine Regional Hospital and member of the Medical Executive Committee is out on $200,000 bail.  Authorities allege that when Irvine Regional Hospital closed, the board voted to donate the remaining charity funds to Hoag Hospital.  However, according to police, instead of donating the money to Hoag, Hagadorn diverted the funds to his personal use.

The criminal complaint also charges Hagadorn with multiple counts of tax evasion for not declaring the proceeds he received from the alleged embezzlement.

Ezequiel Barragan, 48 of Aliso Viejo was arrested yesterday on charges of possessing child pornography and child molestation.  Barragan, a Spanish teacher at Dana Hills High School is being held on $500,000 bail after investigators said he was the focus of a United States Postal Service child pornography investigation.

The minor who authorities say was a victim of the child molestation was not a student at the high school.  If convicted of possession of child pornography and child molestation, Barragan faces lifetime registration as a sex offender and state prison incarceration.

Four people were injured when William Murray, 50, collided almost head-on with a Honda Civic over the weekend.  Murray was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated by Fullerton Police.

A female passenger in Murray’s vehicle was airlifted to a trauma center in Long Beach.  According to law enforcement, she has significant injuries but is expected to survive.  The driver of the other vehicle was taken to UCI Medical Center for internal injuries but he is also expected to survive.  The driver of the Honda also had his minor children in the care and they were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

Murray is likely to be facing felony DUI charges causing great bodily injury if he was driving while intoxicated.

The former co-owner of clothing brand RVCA and professional surfer, Conan Hayes was charged in Orange County Superior Court with Real Estate fraud.  According to authorities, Hayes lied to Bank of America causing them to lose $586,245 on the short sale of a Costa Mesa home.

Hayes, who sold his interest in RVCA for over $7 million is alleged to have told bank officials that he had lost his job and got the bank to agree to short sell the Costa Mesa home.  The bank was unaware of Hayes’ assets from the sale of RVCA which may have been able to prevent the need for the bank to short sell the home.

Hayes, 40 was charged with one felony count of grand theft with sentencing enhancements of property losses over $200,000.  If he is convicted, Hayes faces up to five years in prison.