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Wichita Bookkeeper Sentenced For Embezzling
Court Watch | 2010/04/14 13:46

A bookkeeper in Wichita has been sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison for embezzling more than $948,000 from a law firm where she worked.

Thirty-four-year-old Vicki J. Olivarez pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of writing checks and forging signatures on the checks while she worked at Pistotnik Law Offices.

In her plea, Olivarez admitted that from 2004 through 2009 she wrote numerous checks on the firm's client trust account and deposited the money into her personal accounts. She used some of the money to make payments on property she owned in Andover.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten also ordered Olivarez to forfeit $948,041 including her interest in the Andover property.

6 accused in Mass. mortgage scheme
Court Watch | 2009/12/25 05:03
Three real estate investors, two mortgage brokers and a disbarred attorney have been indicted for allegedly participating in a complex scheme to defraud homeowners and mortgage lenders in the Boston area, authorities announced Tuesday.

The six defendants are charged with larceny and making false or exaggerated statements.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley, who announced the indictments at a news conference, said the scheme netted more than $2 million in proceeds.

Those charged were: Joshua Brown, 29, of Brockton; Brian Frank, 32, of New Hartford, N.Y.; and John Sweetland, 28, of Yorba Linda, Calif., all identified as real estate investors. Mortgage brokers Linda Defeo, 28, of Springfield, and Brian Arrington, 39, of Boston, were also charged.

Former attorney Bruce Namenson, 47, of Walpole, was also charged. In unrelated cases, Namenson was disbarred in 2008 for converting clients' money for his own use and sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to motor vehicle insurance fraud.

Authorities allege that Brown, Frank and Sweetland, of Boston Equity Investments, used inflated property appraisals and other fraudulent documents to obtain approximately $12.5 million in loans from more than a dozen financial lending institutions to purchase 26 multifamily homes.

They allegedly arranged for the sellers to receive much less money for the sales than the maximum amount of financing that BEI was able to get from the lenders in the homebuyers' names. At closings, BEI would pocket the difference, which was usually between $50,000 and $100,000, and sometimes as much as $150,000, Coakley said.

Teen charged with starting 2 California wildfires
Court Watch | 2009/12/25 05:03
A 16-year-old Southern California boy was charged Wednesday as an adult for allegedly starting two arson wildfires in San Bernardino County earlier this year.

Ricky Sean Lukacs will be arraigned in adult court on Dec. 28 and is being held in juvenile hall, said Deputy District Attorney Karen Khim.

He is charged with two counts of arson of an inhabited structure for fires on Aug. 30 and 31 in the Yucaipa area, 65 miles east of Los Angeles.

Lukacs was originally arrested and charged as a juvenile, but the charges were refiled in adult court, said Susan Mickey, district attorney spokeswoman.

The fires did not cause serious injury or death, but one burned about 1 1/2 square miles in the community of Oak Glen, and the other threatened about 400 homes in Yucaipa before it was contained.

Judge denies jury strikes motion in abortion case
Court Watch | 2009/12/23 04:59
A judge says a motion to prohibit the use of pre-emptory jury strikes in the trial of a man accused of killing a Kansas abortion provider is premature.

Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert on Tuesday denied a defense motion to prohibit the strikes but said he would deal with such issues on a person-by-person basis during trial.

Fifty-one-year-old Scott Roeder is charged with shooting Dr. George Tiller on May 31 at the abortion doctor's Wichita church. Roeder has confessed to shooting Tiller, which he says was necessary to save unborn children.

Earlier Tuesday, Wilbert denied a defense motion for a change of venue for the trial.

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