Weekender Updater: OC's Largest Ponzi Scam, Innocence of Muslims and Other Court Matters

Weekender Updater: OC's Largest Ponzi Scam, Innocence of Muslims and Other Court Matters

This weekender you are updatered on: a federal appeals court overturning a previous decision ordering the removal from YouTube of a former Orange County conman's anti-Islamic film trailer that sparked protests across the Muslim world; a man accused of being part of the largest Ponzi scheme in Orange County history being sentenced to a day in jail; a fraudster who raised more than $3 million for phony childhood obesity and Type II diabetes treatments being sent to prison for more than a dozen years, while a man who tried to murder a lady jogger gets a baker's dozen in the joint; and San Juan Capistrano deciding not to appeal a decision that invalidated the way water was charged in the city.

Story: Innocence of Muslims Suffers a Legal Blow But Not For Former OC Conman (This Time)

Update: A federal appeals court this week overturned a previous decision to order Google to remove from YouTube an anti-Islamic film trailer made by a former Orange County conman that sparked protests across the Muslim world. The 10-1 ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena determined that removal of the 13-minute Innocence of Muslims clip was a prior restraint of speech that violated the U.S. Constitution. That decision reversed a three-judge ruling from February 2014 that upheld a lawsuit filed by actress Cindy Lee Garcia, who alleged she was duped into appearing in the film by Mark Basseley, a.k.a. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. Mark Basseley Youssef, a.k.a Sam Bacile. The former resident of at least

a couple OC cities served 21 months in prison after a 2010 conviction for check fraud, and his parole prohibited him from using computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer. He went back behind bars in September 2012 for failing to have received permission to use computers and the Internet to spread his movie that demonized Islamic prophet Muhammad. For that, one right-wing blogger claimed Basseley was the only person imprisoned in the aftermath of the organized Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Writing for the appeals court majority, Judge M. Margaret McKeown expressed sympathy for Garcia but said her "claim against Google is grounded in copyright law, not privacy, emotional distress, or tort law, and that the actress seeks to impose speech restrictions under copyright laws meant to foster rather than repress free expression."

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Story: Adam Jay Boskovich Surrenders in Alleged $150 Million Ponzi Scheme Called OC's Largest Ever Update: Adam Jay Boskovich--who had been accused of being part of a $150 million Ponzi scheme and, with a $21 million chunk from Orange County victims alone, the largest such scam in county history--was sentenced this week to a day in jail and five years probation. The 45-year-old Laguna Niguel resident had previously had his felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor after he cut a restitution deal with his victims. The main defendant in the case remains Gerard Frank Cellette, 50, of Minnesota, who still faces multiple felonies and is due in court on July 17.

Story: Chuck Davis Guilty of $3.3 Million Diabetes and Childhood Obesity Product Investment Scam Update: Charles M. "Chuck" Davis, who ran a fraud scheme that raised more than $3 million from victims who thought they were investing in products that treat childhood obesity and Type II diabetes, was sentenced this week to more than a dozen years in federal prison. Santa Ana-based U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford also ordered the 57-year-old Irvine resident to pay almost $3.5 million in restitution to 66 victims, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. A federal jury last June found Davis guilty of two counts of mail fraud, seven counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering in relation to an investment scam he operated through his Newport Beach-based LifeRight Holdings Inc. He's been in federal custody since September 2011, when his bond in one case was revoked after a judge found he was improperly soliciting money for a second scam. In both schemes, Davis never had a real product.
 

James Anthony Rivas is going away to prison for 13 years.
James Anthony Rivas is going away to prison for 13 years.
Courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney's office

Story: James Anthony Rivas Faces Trial for Attempted Murder of Lady Jogger in Rossmoor Update: James Anthony Rivas was sentenced Friday to 13 years in state prison for the attempted murder of a female jogger who was stabbed multiple times. A jury on April 3 found the 20-year-old Rossmoor resident guilty of felony counts of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem and found true sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury and the personal use of a deadly weapon. Rivas was 18 years old on Oct. 23, 2012, when around 9 p.m. he ran up behind a 27-year-old woman jogging through a residential neighborhood in Rossmoor, stabbed her multiple times, got on top of her when she fell to the ground and cut her face, back, arm and hand. She managed to knock the knife out of his hand, and when she screamed, Rivas ran off. The victim was hospitalized but survived her injuries.

Story: San Juan Capistrano Explores Options After Tiered Water Rates Ruled Unconstitutional Update: The San Juan Capistrano City Council voted unanimously Tuesday not to fight a state appellate court ruling that declared the city's tiered-water pricing was unconstitutional--much to the chagrin of Gov. Jerry Brown. That ends the council's battle with the Capistrano Taxpayers Association, which sued in 2012 on ground the water charges were flawed and unfair. In a 5-0 vote during a closed meeting, the council approved a settlement that has it agreeing to pay the groups legal fees, and in exchange the plaintiffs will drop their complaint against the city. Mayor Derek Reeve says a process has begun to refund customers who were overcharged in the previous tiered system. Brown has worried publicly that the appellate decision will hinder the ability of water agencies to achieve water usage cutbacks he has mandated due to the drought.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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