Tag Archives: Santa Ana Police Dept

Orange County: Officers Arrest Bank Robbery Suspect

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Tues., Aug. 4, at approximately 4:57 p.m., a male Asian suspect entered the Bank of America located at 102 W. 4th Street in Santa Ana.  He presented the teller with a note, which stated he had a gun and demanded money. Out of fear for her safety, the teller provided the suspect with an undisclosed amount of U.S. currency. The suspect fled the location on foot.

With the assistance of Orange County Sheriff’s Air Support, “Duke,” the suspect was located and Officers were directed to the area of 600 W. Santa Ana Blvd.  When the Officers arrived, they were lead to a possible suspect by a security guard. The suspect was ultimately located and detained.

The suspect was positively identified during a field show-up as Dia Chanh Diep, 43, a transient. Money believed to have been taken in the robbery was located with the suspect.

Robbery Detectives and the FBI were both notified and assisted in the investigation. The suspect was arrested for bank robbery and booked at the Santa Ana Police Jail.

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Photo Courtesy:  SAPD Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

Photo Courtesy: SAPD
Alleged Bank Robber, Dia Chanh Diep, 43

OC Debt Relief Consumer Fraud

Staff Reports

Santa Ana – On Mon., June 1, two individuals pleaded guilty for their roles at fraudulent debt relief services companies that offered to settle credit card debts, but instead took their victims’ payments as undisclosed up-front fees.

Athena Maldonado, 30, and Christopher Harati, 31, both of Orange County, were involved in connection with debt relief companies known as Nelson Gamble & Associates, and Jackson, Hunter, Morris & Knight, LLP.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the defendants and their co-conspirators portrayed the debt relief companies as law firms and attorney-based companies that would negotiate favorable settlements with creditors.  Clients made monthly payments expecting the money to go toward settlements.  The companies instead took an amount equal to at least 15 percent of clients’ total debt as company fees, with the first six months of payments going almost entirely toward undisclosed up-front fees.

“Debt relief service scams prey on vulnerable consumers trying to climb out of tough financial situations,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Benjamin C. Mizer, of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The Justice Department will aggressively pursue the criminals who operate these schemes.”

Maldonado admitted that she acted as the “legal department” for both companies, and used multiple aliases when responding to complaints submitted by state attorney general offices, the Better Business Bureau and private attorneys.  Maldonado admitted that, after Nelson Gamble changed its name to Jackson Hunter, she responded to consumer complaints by falsely stating, among other things, that the two companies were not related and that Jackson Hunter could not refund money paid to Nelson Gamble.

Harati admitted that he worked as a client relations manager for the companies and handled complaint calls from clients.  He admitted he told customers that Nelson Gamble and Jackson Hunter were separate companies, falsely stated that Jackson Hunter was a nationwide law firm with years of experience, and made other misrepresentations designed to convince customers to stay with the company.

The defendants each face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or an alternate fine of twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater, along with mandatory restitution.  Their sentencing dates have not been set.

On Dec. 3, 2014, a grand jury in Santa Ana, California, returned a 22-count indictment charging Jeremy Nelson, Elias Ponce and John Vartanian, all of Orange County, for mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in the same fraudulent scheme.  The trial in that case is scheduled to begin on Feb. 16, 2016, in Los Angeles.

The Federal Trade Commission brought a civil case against Nelson Gamble, Jackson Hunter and other defendants in September 2012, alleging that the defendants falsely claimed they would reduce consumers’ unsecured debt by 50 percent or more, made unauthorized charges to their bank accounts and called phone numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Drug-Infused Bread Closes OC Bakery

Staff Reports

An example of Rosca de Reyes (or Three Kings Bread)  (Photo courtesy of Google Images)

An example of Rosca de Reyes (or Three Kings Bread) (Photo courtesy of Google Images)

Santa Ana – On Tues., Jan. 6, the Orange County Health Care Agency closed Cholula’s Bakery in the City of Santa Ana to begin a food-borne illness investigation after receiving several reports of illness related to eating Rosca de Reyes Bread distributed by the bakery on Jan. 5 and 6.

According to the Santa Ana Police Department, the O.C. Sheriff’s Crime Lab results from analysis of product samples of the bread returned positive for JWH122 – classified as a “synthetic cannabinoid,” which mimics some of the symptoms of cannabis consumption.

Wikipedia states synthetic cannabis/cannabinoids as synthetic marijuana, the effects of which are categorized in the genre of “designer drugs” and are sold as natural highs under brand names such as K2 or Spice (often termed a “spice product”).

Adverse health effects associated with ingesting synthetic cannabinoids include seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior, agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, racing heartbeat and elevated blood pressure.

Cholula’s Bakery was initially closed until the investigation into the food-borne illness was completed, and it was confirmed that the bakery completed a professional restaurant-grade cleaning of the establishment, disposed of all opened foods and all ingredients used to make the Rosca de Reyes bread, and completed mandatory food safety training for all employees.

With the synthetic drug findings by the O.C. Sheriff’s Crime Lab, the future of Cholula’s Bakery may be in jeopardy.  The case has been returned to the Santa Ana Police Department for criminal investigation.

Anyone who believes they have consumed the tainted bread is encouraged to contact the Santa Ana Police Crimes Against Persons Unit at (714) 245-8390.

Gang Homicide In Santa Ana

Staff Reports


Santa Ana – On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at midnight, patrol officers were dispatched to a call of shots fired in the area of Sullivan Street. Witnesses informed officers they had heard approximately 4 to 5 shots fired. While at the call, officers learned that a 17-year old male – later identified as Angel Arellano – arrived with multiple gunshot wounds at Coastal Community Hospital. Arellano was immediately transported to Western Medical Center in critical condition, where he died from his injuries. Officers located the crime scene in the 500 block of S. Sullivan Street.

Victim Arellano – a documented Townsend Street gang member – was one of the individuals the Orange County District Attorney’s Office was seeking to enjoin the current Townsend Street Injunction.

According to an article written on the VoiceofOC.org (Aug. 20), the Injunction is essentially a restraining order that would restrict the activities of a gang’s members in a .39-square mile safety zone bordered by McFadden Avenue, and Raitt, Sullivan and First streets. Those enjoined would be prohibited from associating with gang members in public spaces within the safety zone, with the exception of certain spaces such as schools or churches. The order also prohibits gang members from acting as lookouts, trespassing, fighting, blocking free passage, or intimidating anyone in public. This shooting occurred within the gang injunction safety zone.

It is reported that residents in Santa Ana are frustrated with what they call police mistreatment and abuse of authority in the Townsend Street neighborhood. In fact, victim Arellano was contesting the injunction. A pretrial hearing is currently set for Jan. 13, 2015 on the case.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call SAPD Homicide detectives at (714) 245-8390 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS. The Santa Ana Police Department is offering a monetary reward for information leading to the arrest of gang homicide or felony gang assault suspects.