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Irvine California White Collar Crime Defense Blog

Is ecstasy the next therapy drug?

Drugs are a hot topic in today's world, as they have recently landed in the spotlight of public scrutiny. Voices on both sides of the controversy stress the importance of some controlled substances as well as the risks, but the question remains: are the penalties for drug possession too severe? In California, that question may soon arrive at an answer. Similar to the debate surrounding the legalization of marijuana, some officials are debating the benefits that ecstasy could provide for those suffering from a number of complications. 

Attitudes towards drugs such as ecstasy are certainly changing, and many Californians are wondering if money spent toward penalties for possession is too much. Earlier this year LA Weekly commented on this topic, asking whether those arrested on ecstasy charges should receive lighter prison sentences. The legalization of marijuana has made a large splash in the state; could ecstasy be next? The Weekly anticipated the upcoming United States Sentencing Commission's public hearing on the guidelines surrounding sentences involving the drug also known as MDMA, and noted that drug advocates planned on attending the meeting. Of course, the sentencing reconsideration of other drugs, specific demographics related to ecstasy charges and the potential risks of the drug are some of the main factors that will help officials accurately discuss of reducing prison sentences.

History of the Ponzi scheme

Numerous Ponzi schemes have popped up around California over the years. A recent Ponzi scam artist is James Paul Lewis, Jr., who in 2006 received a sentence of 30 years in prison for running a Ponzi scheme in California for 20 years. 

A Ponzi scheme is briefly defined as an unrealistic investment opportunity where the mastermind of the organization takes money from a first group of people. These people are later paid back by a second group and so on and so forth. This money is never actually invested. It merely becomes redistributed among all the members. 

Understanding phishing

Many California residents may have heard people talk about phishing but or alleged phishing scams but may not fully understand what exactly this refers to. At first glance, phishing emails may appear similar to spam emails but there are differences in what may be considered just junk or marketing communications and what may lead to a criminal charge.

As explained by the Federal Trade Commission, phishing accusations involve not simply unwanted electronic communications but electronic communications said to be designed to collect a recipient's personal information. Further, once this information has been collected, there may be an intent to use it illegally such as in identity theft or to secure credit or money in some way.

Orange county's opioid crisis and the outlook of narcan

The southeast region of the United States is not the only area affected by the opioid crisis. Recent news shows that California has taken a particularly large hit from the drug that has spawned a nationwide epidemic since 2010. Many may wonder what constitutes as a prescription drug or heroin possession charge, and what that charge might mean for their future. While the consequences of a heroin possession offense can be severe, a new drug called Naloxone has changed the outlook for this epidemic.

OC Weekly pointed out last July that Orange County ranked third in California for counties with the highest drug overdose deaths between 2013 and 2015, with Huntington Beach leading in overdoses. However, law enforcement in the area do not consider Huntington to be in a state of opioid crisis. Health experts state otherwise, claiming that many OC residents assume that only a certain demographic uses opioids. Despite popular belief, cases have arisen out of every racial group, social status and financial state, but treatment centers emphasize the importance of preventative care. Other health experts claim that doctors simply do not give enough attention to teenage patients, who then turn to cheaper but harder alternatives that can have costly consequences.

Man pleads guilty to white collar crimes

When people in California think about someone being criminally charged with a white collar crime, they may think about movie plots involving organized crime. They may also think about very large, even international, corporations in which financial officers are accused of a myriad of offenses. However, these charges can apply to many types of individuals, companies and situations.

A recent example can be seen in the case involving a man who worked at a winery in the heart of the Santa Barbara wine country. Reports allege that for a period of seven years starting in 2006 the defendant fraudulently embezzled money from his employer. The employer is a winery and no details have been released as to the suspected involvement of anyone else at the company. It is not known exactly what position the man held or how he had access to the money for those years. The man has actually pled guilty to the embezzlement charge.

5 examples of employee theft

Employee theft can take many forms, including embezzling money, directly taking products and stealing information. Understanding the different types of employee theft is important because there are many important distinctions, both when it comes to the impact it has on the business and criminal charges.

Here is a list of the most common things employees steal.

Possession of ecstasy and the legal obstacles

In recent years, marijuana has been the drug at the center of the public psyche, but ecstasy has long been known for its connection to serious legal penalties. Similar to most states, California law enforces various penalties for this popular recreational drug -- but not all of these penalties result in damaged permanent records and reputations.

Also known as MDMA (an abbreviation of its scientific name), ecstasy is a drug commonly found within the rave scene. The Mercury News reported on an ecstasy-related case from 2015, in which Oakland law enforcement became involved at the scene of a local warehouse that had been converted into artist collective. According to the Mercury, a body camera used by the police involved proved that the officer was aware of the illegal party at the warehouse, formerly called the Ghost Ship. Most of the public associates the Ghost Ship with the devastating fire that took place at the warehouse in 2016, but underlying this event was the wide accessibility of ecstasy and marijuana within the community. This incident could point toward a larger, underlying network of the drug among groups outside of the partygoer scene.

Are you unknowingly committing tax fraud?

Few if any people genuinely enjoy doing their taxes, and this is likely due in part to just how complicated the process can be. Unless you make your living as an accountant, you may find yourself confused by the language, whether you fit the criteria for certain tax breaks and so on.

Because there is so much involved in filing your taxes, many people like you end up guessing in certain areas, but doing so can land you in serious trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Even if your actions are entirely unintentional, you may still face serious consequences, so it is important to identify some of the ways in which taxpayers often make missteps when filing their taxes. For example, you may unknowingly commit tax fraud if you:

How accurate are field sobriety tests?

Like most California drivers, you likely know that the state can come down hard on someone accused of driving under the influence of alcohol. While few people would argue that protecting people from the danger of a truly intoxicated and negligent driver is important, it is equally important that all drivers' rights are protected. Not everyone arrested for drunk driving is actually guilty and it is good for people to know that the tests used during a DUI arrest may not always be accurate. explains that there are three standardized tests that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved for law enforcement to use as an initial screening during a potential drunk driving arrest. These are the walk and turn test, the one leg stand test and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Instead of proving intoxication, these field sobriety tests give officers the evidence that they need to legally arrest you and charge you with suspected drunk driving. Yet, these tests are not 100-percent accurate.

Ponzi schemes: the risks and the penalties

Ponzi schemes are no new occurrence in the state of California. Subsequently, the legal system does not take these types of operations lightly -- no matter how minor they may appear. One simple misstep in financial management can result in negative consequences for a lifetime, and can potentially wreck an individual's reputation and career. There are plethoras of media reports on Ponzi schemes, but knowing the details of penalties and those involved can increase future awareness on the issue.


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