[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Fraud, Money Laundering: SCV Man Gets 6+ Years | 11-28-2011
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
63°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 22
1891 - Future First Lady Lou Henry (Hoover), 17, poses for photo at R.E. Nickel's Acton store [story]


Alleged conspirator awaits federal court trial in connection with bogus debt collection agency
| Monday, Nov 28, 2011

One Santa Clarita man was sentenced Monday and a second local man awaits trial on fraud and money laundering charges related to a bogus debt collection agency they ran out of Bakersfield,  Monrovia and Anaheim.

Stefan Lemar Miller, 32, pleaded guilty in September and was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii to six years and nine months in federal prison. A co-conspirator, Darrian Jeffrey Summers, 41, of Taft, was sentenced to eight years. Paul Anthony Vasquez, 27, faces trial in February.

Federal prosecutors list Miller and Vasquez as residents of Santa Clarita – although there is some indication Miller may have moved from Santa Clarita to Sacramento shortly before his arrest.

The U.S. Attorney’s office filed a 23 count indictment Dec. 16 against Miller, Vasquez and Summers, charging them with wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy for their roles in a scheme to bilk more than $2.7 million from clients of their companies – Maxwell, Turner & Associates in Bakersfield; Stanley, Morgan & Associates Inc. in Monrovia; and related entities.

An affidavit sworn out Dec. 1, 2010, by IRS investigator Kulbir S. Mand alleges the scheme began in February 2009 when Miller and Vasquez set up a debt collection agency and “engaged in numerous currency transactions in an attempt to conceal and-or disguise the ownership of the money.”

It says Miller was listed as president and CEO of Maxwell, Turner & Associates. “However, in the course of this investigation it became apparent Vasquez is the true owner/operator behind MTA, not Miller. Vasquez and Miller are friends from childhood.”

It says MTA’s website listed a Fresno address but that the “true” business address was in Bakersfield, where the company employed 15 to 20 people “who would cold-call potential new clients.”

“MTA operated a sophisticated website that claimed to collect debt and offer a wide range of services,” the affidavit says, under the names of Nationwide Legal Support, Free Skiptracing on All Accounts, and Timely Remittances.

“However, these claims of debt collection and services are a ploy to trick clients into providing money to MTA without any true resolution of debt by MTA,” it says.

MTA didn’t request money up front from clients, but “after the client signed the contract, (the defendants) would provide false information to their clients about legal proceedings and the whereabouts of the debtor and the ability to collect the funds. This was a ploy used by MTA to get their clients to send them money in hopes of a larger return.”

“In fact when money was collected from the debtor, MTA would not send the money to their clients. MTA would continue to request additional payments from their clients that had already made payments to MTA. This would continue until MTA exhausted all of their ability to get money from their clients. Once the client stopped sending money to MTA, they would stop communication with their clients.”

The affidavit alleges that “hundreds of clients” were duped.

Sixty-five complaints had been filed with the Kern County District Attorney John Mitchell and another 33 were pending at the time the affidavit was filed. Included with the complaints were copies of mail and FAX correspondence from MTA to clients; thus the wire and mail fraud charges.

The money laundering charges stem from a review of the principals’ bank accounts. MTA made $2.816 million in bank deposits from February 2009 to May 2010, of which $2.754 million was tied back to client victims.

During that time, Miller’s personal bank account showed $692,000 in checks he received from MTA. From May 2009 to May 2010, Miller withdrew a total of $1.713 million in cash from both his own account and from MTA’s account.

“These cash withdrawals represent money laundering violations,” the affidavit states.

However, according to the affidavit, “these transactions were conducted by Miller on behalf of Vasquez, who was the true conductor of the cash withdrawals.”

Miller and company shut down MTA in May 2010 and reopened as Daniel, Meyers & Associates Inc. in Monrovia, and as as Stanley, Morgan & Associates Inc. in Anaheim.

Vasquez allegedly used a number of aliases including Jonathan Turner, Gary Marshall, Gregory Marshall, Ian Maxwell and Steven Hammer. A confidential witness who dropped dime on the defendants told Bakersfield police officers that Vasquez’s mother-in-law was also in on the scheme.

Another confidential witness said she was hired as a telemarketer, and Vasquez would “often entice the employees with cash bonuses to anyone who could bring in the biggest check for the day,” according to the affidavit. She said Vasquez made all MTA employees use aliases “to conceal their true identities.” She described Vasquez as “unpredictable and violent.”

A third confidential witness said Vasquez lived near Stockdale Highway in Bakersfield with a woman and three children, but as of December 2010, the FBI had issued a warrant for his arrest in Los Angeles County. The third witness said Vasquez’s in-laws lived on Larkspur Street in Sylmar.

The Bakersfield police officers caught up with the other defendant, Summers, at Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail, where he was being held on a parole violation for narcotics possession. He’d been hiding out in Los Angeles County until his arrest on April 12, 2010.

Summers told the Bakersfield police offers Vasquez would shoot him if he squealed.

Assistant United States Attorneys Mark J. McKeon and Stanley A. Boone are prosecuting the case.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

No Comments

    Leave a Comment


    SCV NewsBreak
    Loading...
    Related Content
    LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
    Monday, Aug 21, 2017
    SCV Deputies Investigate Reported Valencia Warehouse Burglary
    Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to a possible burglary call at a warehouse in the 29000 block of Avenue Sherman in Valencia Monday morning.
    Monday, Aug 21, 2017
    Deputies Cite Speeders, Arrest Parolee
    Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station issued 38 traffic citations Friday and arrested a Newhall man on a parole violation warrant on Saturday.
    Monday, Aug 21, 2017
    City, Sheriff’s Station Launch ‘Heads Up’ Safety Campaign
    The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the city of Santa Clarita launch the “Heads Up” campaign this week to combat distracted driving and increase pedestrian safety.
    Keep Up With Our Facebook

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    1891 - Future First Lady Lou Henry (Hoover), 17, poses for photo at R.E. Nickel's Acton store [story]
    Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to a possible burglary call at a warehouse in the 29000 block of Avenue Sherman in Valencia Monday morning.
    SCV Deputies Investigate Reported Valencia Warehouse Burglary
    Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a once-in-a-century solar experience took place Monday. Plus, on Saturday, dozens of people gathered in Newhall to celebrate the legacy of the old Saugus Speedway, its racers and its crew. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
    SCV NewsBreak for Monday, August 21, 2017
    The 28th Annual Fine Art Show & Gala presented by the Santa Clarita Artists Association and the county of Los Angeles takes over Hart Hall on Saturday afternoon, October 14.
    October 14: SCAA, County’s 28th Annual Art Classic at Hart Park
    Organizers of the city of Santa Clarita's quarterly photo contest are now accepting entries for the fall 2017 competition.
    City Opens Entries for Fall 2017 Photo Contest
    The Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club invites everyone who shares a special connection with the club to the Alumni BBQ on Saturday afternoon, September 9.
    September 9: Boys & Girls Club Alumni & Friends BBQ
    Comedian and magician Fritz Coleman brings his stand-up show to Santa Clarita with an intimate, one-time performance at the Keyboard Galleria Music Center on Saturday, August 26.
    August 26: Comic Fritz Coleman Stands Up at Keyboard Galleria
    Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station issued 38 traffic citations Friday and arrested a Newhall man on a parole violation warrant on Saturday.
    Deputies Cite Speeders, Arrest Parolee
    Lancaster JetHawks right-handed pitcher Jesus Tinoco has been named the California League Pitcher of the Week for August 14-20, 2017.
    JetHawks’ Tinoco Named Cal League Pitcher of the Week
    The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson and cash considerations from the New York Mets in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
    Dodgers Aqcuire Outfielder Curtis Granderson from Mets
    The TMU Mustangs' women's volleyball home opener proved to be exactly what the doctor ordered as the hosts dispatched Lewis & Clark State College (ID) in straight sets 25-19, 25-22, 25-17.
    Lady Mustangs Dispatch Lewis & Clark in Straight Sets
    The Master's University's men's soccer team inaugurated their 2017 season with a 5-0 win over Northwest of Washington on Reese Field Saturday afternoon.
    TMU Men’s Soccer Blanks Northwest in Season Opener
    The Master’s University women’s soccer team’s 2017 record improved to 2-0 after beating the No. 8 ranked Northwest University Eagles 3-1 on Saturday morning at Reese Field.
    TMU Women’s Soccer Team Grounds Eagles 3-1 Saturday
    CalArtians Mathieu Libman (Film/Video BFA 19) and Aram Sarkisian (Film/Video BFA 17) are among the seven finalists for Student Academy Awards in the Animation category.
    Two CalArtians Named 2017 Student Academy Awards Finalists
    Western singer and songwriter John Zipperer headlines the next episode of "SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series" at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall the evening of Friday, August 25.
    August 25: John Zipperer Headlines ‘SCVTV Presents The OutWest Concert Series’
    The Lancaster JetHawks clinched a franchise-record sixth consecutive winning season with their 71st victory, a 7-2 win over the Inland Empire 66ers, on Sunday afternoon at San Manuel Stadium.
    JetHawks Sweep Sixers Sunday, Secure Winning Season
    The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the city of Santa Clarita launch the “Heads Up” campaign this week to combat distracted driving and increase pedestrian safety.
    City, Sheriff’s Station Launch ‘Heads Up’ Safety Campaign
    An 18-year-old man from Lancaster surrendered to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Special Victims Unit Monday morning in connection with an alleged sexual assault earlier this month on College of the Canyons' Valencia campus.
    Suspect Arrested in Alleged COC Sexual Assault
    The Lancaster JetHawks scored seven runs in the fifth inning, propelling themselves to a 9-4 win over the Inland Empire 66ers on Saturday night at San Manuel Stadium.
    Seven-Run Fifth Inning Carries JetHawks to Win Saturday
    Hundreds of drivers were screened in a DUI checkpoint in Stevenson Ranch Friday night, but no arrests were made, CHP officials said.
    CHP DUI Checkpoint Screens Hundreds of Drivers
    1961 - CalArts grad (MFA '92) and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob SquarePants, born in Oklahoma; developed prototype for Spongebob while studying at CalArts in 1989. Estimated net worth in 2012: $90 million [story]
    The Santa Clarita Public Library invites residents to view the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 at the Old Town Newhall Library starting at 10 a.m.
    August 21: Solar Eclipse Viewing at Newhall Library
    1967 - New Town of Valencia dedicated; homes sell for $25,000 [story]
    1879 - Newhall civic leader Charles Henry Kingsburry born in Missouri [story]
    Alerted by a concerned citizen Friday, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies once again rescued dogs the owner left in a car with the windows rolled up and no water.
    Deputies Break Window, Rescue Dogs Locked in Car
    40 oz. to Freedom arrives in Santa Clarita as part of its anniversary tour at Concerts in the Park at Central Park on Saturday, August 19, with showtime at 7 p.m.
    August 19: 40 Oz. to Freedom Rocks Central Park
    Two local environmental groups filed a complaint in L.A. Superior Court Thursday regarding the approved plan to provide water to the Newhall Ranch development, set to break ground in 2018.
    Environmental Groups File Complaint Against Newhall Ranch Water Plan
    County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has provided $143,000 in funding to extend the season of youth and adult swim programs offered at the Castaic Aquatic Center through October 31.
    Castaic Aquatic Center Programs Extended to October 31
    Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Los Angeles County firefighters and government leaders welcomed back the Super Scoopers Friday morning. Plus, the Old Town Newhall Library helped get the community ready for it as well by handing out free eclipse viewing glasses. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
    SCV NewsBreak for Friday, August 18, 2017
    CalArts alumna Audrey Chan (Art MFA 07) will host a free, all-ages interactive arts workshop in Little Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday, August 19 and 20, as part of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center’s 2017 Nisei Week activities.
    August 19-20: Nisei Week Arts Workshop with CalArts Alum Audrey Chan
    Habitat for Humanity SFV/SCV is honored to have received a $25,000 grant from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, which will fund trauma workshops.
    Habitat for Humanity Receives $25K Grant from Disabled Veterans
    Here are agenda highlights for the next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, set for Tuesday, August 22, starting at 9:30 a.m..
    August 22: Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda
    Ashley Olivier, a student worker at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, summited Mt. Whitney with her dad, a lieutenant at LASD's Monterey Park station.
    SCV Sheriff’s Station Student Worker, LASD Dad Top Mt. Whitney
    Looking to enter the win column for the first time in 2017 on day two of the Summer Slam volleyball tournament, the TMU Mustangs squared off against 11th-ranked Eastern Oregon but lost in straight sets.
    Mountaineers Spike Mustangs at Summer Slam
    Caltrans has released "Rail and the California Economy," a research report investigating how the state’s vast passenger and freight rail system contribute to California’s economy, as well as an overview of opportunities for rail to address the state’s needs and challenges in the future.
    New Report Details Rail Role in State Economy
    The Master’s University women’s soccer team soared to a 7-0 victory over the visiting Eagles from Sierra Nevada College Thursday.
    Lady Mustangs Soccer Win Opener 7-0