The Community News You Need to Know for Your Family Safety
Advisory Message has been issued by the Arcadia Police Department.
Wednesday July 6, 2011 2:33 PM PDT
Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension I-210 Bridge Project - Traffic Delay and Detour Information
Construction on the I-210 Gold Line Bridge has begun. The bridge is
the first element of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project to move from final design to construction. The I-210 Bridge is scheduled to be completed in July 2012. The entire Foothill extension from Pasadena to Azusa is scheduled to be completed by early 2015.
The Metro Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority has excellent information available on-line at www.foothillextension.org, and specifically, an information flyer that details detour routes on Foothill Boulevard in Arcadia. The flyer can be found at http://www.foothillextension.org/images/uploads/06-24-2011Bridge_CN.pdf. The flyer also provides the community directions on how to receive periodic updates from the project. The project hotline is (855) 446-1160.
Currently, traffic may be impacted during overnight hours, approximately midnight to 5:00 a.m. Eastbound freeway traffic may be diverted to Foothill Boulevard between Sierra Madre Villa in Pasadena, and Santa Anita Avenue in Arcadia. Closed freeway on-ramps may include Rosemead Boulevard, Michillinda Avenue, and Baldwin Avenue, according to the project map. HOV and the #1 (left) lanes are impacted in the current phase of the project. In the event of a closure, eastbound traffic will be closed between Baldwin Avenue and Santa Anita Avenue.
You can also view a video with project information on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGdCOqWPtKI&feature=player_embedded.
Gold Line Foothill Extension Hotline
Advisory Message has been issued by the LASD - HQ Newsroom (SHB), Los Angeles County Sheriff.
Tuesday July 5, 2011 8:06 PM PDT
40+ victims defrauded out $1.5M+ in Ponzi scheme. Life savings lost. 3 PTA moms in custody.
Two women were arrested at their Diamond Bar homes Tuesday for allegedly operating a scheme that defrauded their victims out of millions of dollars.
41-year old Maricela Barajas (a.k.a. Maricela Torres) was arrested at her home on Hopi Street, and 50-year old Juliana Menefee was arrested at her home on Beaverhead Drive in Diamond Bar.
The arrests came after a six month fraud investigation by detectives from the Commercial Crimes Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
A third suspect, 51-year old Eva Perez, was previously arrested by the Chino Police Department on fraud charges and is currently incarcerated in the Central California Women’s Facility, California State Prison. She is now facing additionally charges from this case.
Suspects Perez, Barajas and Menefee are accused of stealing millions of dollars from more than 40 victims who thought they were investing their money in a legitimate business venture.
Suspects Perez, Barajas and Menefee claimed to have the exclusive right to sell AltaDena Dairy products at Disneyland, Disney Hotels and to small retailers. They told investors they needed funds to grow the business and offered lucrative rates of return of up to 100%.
They assured investors their original investment was safe and guaranteed, even if they did not earn the promised rates of return.
They required all investments to be made in cash.
Approximately $14 million was collected during the scheme. About $10 million was returned to investors to keep new money coming in, while approximately $4 million was retained by the suspects. Over $1.5 million has been proven as actual losses to the victims, through the extensive investigation by Sheriff’s Commercial Crime Bureau detectives. About $2.5 million has not been directly accounted for, and it is speculated that the suspects used the money for lavish vacations, expensive hotels, new cars, and casinos in California and Nevada.
This fraudulent investment scheme began to unravel when they were pressed for payment by their investors and they were unable to perform. Perez, Barajas and Menefee organized informational meetings, and attempted to pacify investors by explaining the delays in payment were a result of an internal audit of the business.
Meanwhile, one of the victims reported the scheme to deputies with the Walnut/Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Departmemt.
The majority of the fraudulent investment transactions took place at Perez’s residences in the city of Chino, and on Wagon Trail Drive in the city of Diamond Bar between 2008-2010.
In order to get money, many of the victims took out second mortgages on their homes, maxed out their credit cards and “invested” their life savings. All transactions were done in cash and the victims losses ranged from the lowest amount of $5,000.00 to as much as $208,000.00. The victims were given serialized receipts commonly available in stationary stores.
Investment transactions also occurred at the residences of Barajas and Menefee in Diamond Bar. All three women had been actively involved in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at Armstrong Elementary School in the city of Diamond Bar. They were successful in gaining the friendship and trust of investors during organized school events and social functions.
The known victims reside in Chino, Diamond Bar, Gardena, Granada Hills, Lawndale, Los Angeles, North Hollywood, Norwalk, Pacoima, Pico Rivera, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Redondo Beach, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Fe Springs, South Gate, Torrance, Whittier, Wilmington, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The victims are mostly typical, hard-working people. When they were interviewed by sheriff’s detectives, their main reaction was to emotionally describe their embarrassment that they fell for this scheme. They said they saw others making a lot of money and didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families. They are in hopes that people who hear about what happened to them, will look for the warning signs that they ignored, and not have this happen to them. They also made the mistake of investing in people they thought they could trust.
None of the money has been recovered. It is believed that the suspects used it or lost it all through purchases and other ventures.
This fraud is typical of a “Ponzi” (or Pyramid) type scheme where a fraudulent investment operation promises to pay large returns to separate investors. Payments, if made, are not from actual profit earned by the organization or business, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. The scheme typically collapses when the promoters start having problems paying the promised returns, as in the case of this fraud scheme.
This type of scheme is named after “Charles Ponzi” who became notorious for using the technique to defraud victims in the early 1920's. It is also known as a Pyramid scheme. The bottom line is, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true.”
Perez pled guilty in San Bernardino County court last year to multiple felony counts of grand theft, where she orchestrated and conducted the same investment fraud scheme. She was sentenced to 11 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
Suspects Perez, Barajas and Menefee could face up to 20 years each in California State Prison if convicted on the 22 felony charges, including seven counts of Grand Theft and 15 counts of Securities Fraud.
Suspects Barajas and Menefee are being held in the Los Angeles County Jail and will be arraigned at the Pomona Superior Court on Thursday, July 7, 2011.
Contact Commercial Crimes Bureau, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, (562) 946-7217 for any further questions or information.
Captain Mike Parker
Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau - Newsroom
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Community Message has been issued by the LASD - HQ Newsroom (SHB), Los Angeles County Sheriff.
Friday July 1, 2011 10:06 PM PDT
Masked woman arrested for breaking into home & attempted murder of mom & toddler in Lancaster
A female (suspect) arrived at the Lancaster home of a 40-year old Hispanic woman on Friday morning, July 1. The suspect was wearing white construction coveralls and a face mask.
Suspect Dierdre Allen, a 49-year old African-American woman who resides in Los Angeles, knocked on the door of the home on the 43000 block of Gadsden Ave.
At about 10:30 AM, when the door was answered by a relative of the intended victim, the suspect forced her way inside and brandished a replica handgun. A struggle ensued between the suspect and several of the victim’s family members. The suspect was wrestled to the ground and held until Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies arrived minutes later.
Lancaster Sheriff’s Station deputies searched the suspect and found a digital recording device. The recording included messages by the suspect wherein she provides step by step instructions to herself. They include what to do to kill the victim and her toddler child, and making it appear to be a murder suicide.
The intended murder weapon appears to be poisoning by an unknown chemical. A jar containing a chemical substance was also located at the scene.
Deputies arrested the suspect and booked her at Lancaster Sheriff’s Station for attempted murder. They discovered a warrant for her arrest as a parolee at large from San Diego. She is being held without bail. No one else has been implicated in the alleged attempted murder.
The victim was home at the time the suspect forced entry inside, but was not involved in the altercation. The husband lives with the victim at the residence where the incident occurred. The suspect and the victim’s husband know each other.
Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact Detectives Simon & Feehan (661) 948-8466 of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Lancaster Station at (661) 948-8466.
If you prefer to provide information ANONYMOUSLY, you can call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
Lieutenant Ed Raulston
Lancaster Sheriff’s Station
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
501 West Lancaster Blvd.
Lancaster, CA 93534