Articles Posted in Internet and Sex Crimes

According to a recent online story in the Bizarre Florida section of the St. Pete Times, a California adult entertainment company is about to make some south Florida husbands pretty upset with Federal lawsuits seeking up to $150,000 in damages (each) for copyright infringement.

As initially reported in the south Florida Sun Sentinel, married men who illegally downloaded the movies “Bootylicious Girls” and “Brazilian Babes” may have a really awkward conversation coming with their wife and/or girlfriend.

Adult entertainment company Elegant Angel filed a series of Federal lawsuits last week against 58 “John Does” in South Florida who allegedly pirated its movies. Elegant Angel, based in Canoga Park, California, has the Internet addresses of the computers used to illegally download the movies and wants Judges to allow it to subpoena the computer owners’ names through their Internet service providers (ISP’s).”I firmly believe that everyone has the right to protect their intellectual property,” said M. Keith Lipscomb, one of the Miami attorneys for Elegant Angel. “Right now, the adult entertainment industry is being tremendously damaged by the infringement of its copyrights over the Internet.”The adult entertainment industry has become more aggressive within the last year in pursuing copyright cases. In many instances, film companies have filed lawsuits against dozens–even hundreds–of “John Does” at a time, accusing them of downloading videos using BitTorrent, a file-sharing
program. Continue reading

According to an online story on The Street.com, Facebook investment scams are proliferating on the Web and investors should be on the lookout, the securities industry’s main self-policing organization warned on Tuesday.Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) warned in a a statement that con-artists have been pitching fake investments in Facebook and other “well-known social media companies.” The scams usually take the form of “pre-IPOs”, or the sale of unregistered shares in a private company to an investor prior to the initial public offering.

The release notes the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently settled a civil action against one trader “who allegedly bilked more than 50 U.S. and foreign investors out of more than $9.6 million in a series of pre-IPO scams involving purported shares of Facebook, Google and other well-known companies.”Among the tips FINRA is disseminating to the public, the release urges investors to ask themselves “why would a total stranger tell me about a really great investment opportunity?'”

The warning comes as Wall Street firms like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have climbed aboard a mini-Gold Rush in hot, privately-traded social media companies. Continue reading

BEWARE: This story, reported in the south Florida Sun-Sentinal is bizarre and twisted and may be inappropriate for those that love animals. OK. You’ve been warned.

A 40-year-old man has been arrested on a charge of Sexually Assaulting his roommate’s dog in Oakland Park, Florida according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

Tomas Bautista, of Oakland Park, was taken into custody Thursday evening, on one (1) count of Animal Cruelty, a Third-Degree Felony, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Dani Moschella. However, as I learned when handling another disturbing man-on-dog sexual abuse case (while at the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office) Florida is one of about a dozen states with no law specifically banning sex with animals.

The 3-year-old female Chihuahua mix, named Mimi, is recovering, said her owner, Clemente Velasquez, 67, on Friday afternoon. After being treated by a veterinarian, “she is now just lying down on the sofa,” Velasquez said. “She’s not happy like she normally is.”According to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Velasquez, who is Bautista’s roommate, arrived home Thursday and found Bautista drunk. He told him to go to bed, but Bautista instead went to the backyard. Mimi (the dog) followed him outside.

Soon after, Velasquez heard Mimi yelp, so he grabbed a flashlight and ran outside. He saw his dog running from Bautista and found Bautista passed out with his pants down.

Mimi was bleeding, so Velasquez notified authorities and took her to the Coral Springs Animal Hospital.On Friday afternoon, Bautista was in Broward’s main jail on $2,500 bond.

Hopefully, if no one has done so yet, this story will be posted on www.pet-abuse.com
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According to a story on ESPN.com, a Florida International University (FIU) baseball player with a record-setting 56-game hitting streak has been charged with Rape in the Bahamas, court officials in the islands’ capital said Monday.

Garrett Wittels is accused of raping a 17-year-old teenage tourist on December 20th while on a visit to the archipelago east of Florida. The 20-year-old infielder ended last season with the second-longest hitting streak in NCAA Division I history, two behind the 58-game run by former Oklahoma State star and Major Leaguer, Robin Ventura, in 1987..
Two (2) of Wittels’ friends also face Rape Charges, officials said.

Robert Rothschild, 21, of New York, was accused of raping two 17-year-old girls, while Jonathan Oberti, 21, also of New York, was charged with raping one, according to Bahamian court officials.

Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez granted Wittels and the two others $10,000 Bail at their Thursday arraignment in Nassau. The U.S. suspects were not required to enter pleas and returned to the United States.

It is unclear how, or if, the charge would affect Wittels’ status with the FIU program. FIU begins its baseball season February 18th and its first three (3) games are set to be televised while Wittels continues his chase of Ventura’s record.

Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis will begin a preliminary inquiry on April 18th to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to go to Trial. By then, FIU’s season will be more than half over.

Wittels, who set school and Sun Belt Conference records with his streak in 2010, did not respond to a message seeking comment sent to his Facebook account. He posted congratulatory messages on his Twitter feed Sunday night after FIU’s football team beat Toledo to win the Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit — the first bowl win for the Golden Panthers’ football program — but no mention of the legal matters.

Wittels tweeted on Dec. 18 that he was going to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas for several days.Wittels’ father, an orthopedist, told The Miami Herald that his son would be vindicated. He said his son was “devastated” by the allegations.

“Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time,” Michael Wittels told the Miami newspaper during a Monday morning phone interview. “He’s not doing well, obviously. He’s blown away. He’s devastated that someone would accuse him of this.”

Michael Wittels, whose telephone appeared to be disconnected later Monday, told the newspaper that his son and his friends met the two girls at a casino and they later went to a private party. The girls apparently described themselves as students at the University of Arkansas, he said.

In the Bahamas, the maximum penalty for a first-time rape offender is seven (7) years in prison.
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As we enter another Holiday Season, the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. would like to wish you and yours a Happy and Safe Holiday weekend.With the support of all of our friends, family and clients, 2010 was another excellent year for the Blake & Dorsten, P.A.. And for that, we have much to be thankful for this Holiday Season.

To our family and friends, thank you for your patience and understanding when it was necessary to work late nights and/or weekends.

To our business colleagues and our outstanding network of fellow attorneys, thank you for not only your referrals but for the trust that you have placed in the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. to provide an experienced and aggressive representation to those that you’ve sent our way.

And to both our former and present clients, thank you for the trust that you have placed in the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. to protect your rights and to handle your important criminal and/or traffic-related matters.

As many of you know, 2010 presented some different challenges for the Blake & Dorsten, P.A.. Without your support, we would not have been able to achieve the many successes that came our way.

On behalf of the entire Blake & Dorsten, P.A. team (Pam, Eryn, Oatie and myself), have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Holiday Season.As always, attorney Nicholas J. Dorsten will be available throughout the Holiday Weekend. In fact, we were very grateful to sign up a new Client today and make a Christmas Eve trip to the Pinellas County Jail.
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Earlier this week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (a Federal appeals Court) issued a landmark opinion in the criminal case of United States v. Warshak, finding that individuals have “a reasonable expectation of privacy in their email” and that the Fourth Amendment protects email held by an Internet Service Provider (ISP).In other words, “[t]he government may not compel a commercial ISP to turn over the contents of a subscriber’s emails without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause.” United States v. Warshak, et al., No. 08-3997, Slip Op. at 23 (6th Cir. Dec. 14, 2010).

As a criminal defense attorney, I’ve been asked the following question many times: To what extent can the police secretly view/obtain your private email? This core question, namely – what are the limits of police surveillance – was answered this week by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a lengthy opinion (that is hyperlinked above).

On one side of the issue, privacy advocates are pleased as punch with the opinion which holds that the government/police must obtain a search warrant based on “probable cause” before it can search emails stored by Internet Service Providers (ISP’s).The case involved a Federal Fraud prosecution of Steven Warshak, an Ohio executive, whose company sold an herbal supplement which was touted for its purported ability to increase a man’s, um, physical attributes. Perhaps you’ve seen a commercial or two for this product?As part of its Fraud investigation, the United States government obtained about 27,000 private emails from Warshak’s Internet Service Providers. Warshak moved to suppress/exclude the emails as evidence, contending that the U.S. government obtained them through an unreasonable search and seizure, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

People have a “reasonable expectation” that emails will remain private, the Sixth Circuit stated, using some colorful language. “Lovers exchange sweet nothings” and “businessmen swap ambitious plans” all with the click of a mouse button, the Court said. By obtaining access to someone’s email, law enforcement agents gain the ability to peer deeply into his activities. . . the Fourth Amendment must keep pace with the inexorable march of technological progress, or its guarantees will wither and perish.”

The Sixth Circuit held that Warshak’s constitutional rights were violated when investigators obtained his e-mails without a search warrant.

In a minor side note, the Court upheld his convictions. One of Warshak’s attorneys, Martin Weinberg, told the Associated Press that the Court’s ruling on email-privacy was helpful to his client; however, the Court should have also overturned his convictions.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation hailed the recent Sixth Circuit ruling, saying in a statement that it is the “only federal appellate decision currently on the books that squarely rules on this critically important privacy issue.”

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers also weighed in with praise. “Americans expect and deserve protection from government agents who would snoop into their private communications without probable cause and a court order,” the group said in a statement.Please remember, this opinion only applies to “government agents.” This opinion will not prevent your wife or girlfriend from snooping into your private email account.

BEWARE…….
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According to a story published on TampaBay.com this afternoon, Pinellas County Court Judge Henry Andringa refused to lower the $500,000 Bail for former Clearwater Fire Chief Jamie Geer, who was arrested Monday and accused of Capital Sexual Battery (which requires a mandatory LIFE in prison sentence).The request to lower the Bail came from local attorney Nat Kidder, who previously handled Geer’s divorce case and is discussing whether to represent Geer in this serious criminal case. Judge Henry Andringa said Geer could request a Bond Reduction Hearing, in the future, to argue that Geer’s bail should be reduced.

“I think everyone concerned is dismayed,” Kidder said after the hearing, when asked for his reaction to the charge against the former Clearwater Fire Chief. “Like any citizen, he has the presumption of innocence.”

He added: “I have not seen anything other than the basic paperwork. I don’t know the quality of the State’s evidence.”

According to a BayNews9.com story this morning, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested Tuesday in London on a Swedish warrant, London’s Metropolitan Police said.

Assange was arrested at a London police station at 9:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. EST) and will appear at the City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court later in the day, police said.Swedish authorities had issued the warrant for Assange so they can talk to him about allegations of Sex Crimes unrelated to WikiLeaks’ recent disclosure of secret U.S. documents.

Assange’s British lawyer, Mark Stephens, said his client would fight extradition to Sweden, according to Britain’s Press Association. The court now has roughly twenty-one (21) days to decide whether to order his extradition, said Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association.Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, has said he has long feared retribution for his website’s disclosures and has called the rape allegations against him a smear campaign.

According to an online St. Pete Times story, Clearwater Police Department (CWPD) detectives seized more than eighty (80) computerized gaming machines and a new car last week after executing a search warrant at what authorities called an illegal gambling operation on U.S. Highway 19 North in Clearwater.

The search and seizure happened around 5:00 p.m. Friday at the Rio Arcade, located at 19042 U.S. Highway 19 North. Clearwater detectives began investigating the business after receiving complaints of illegal gambling. A quick look at the Rio Arcade’s website (hyperlinked above) gives the impression that this was more of a casino than an arcade.Detectives believe the establishment was operating an illegal gambling business with approximately eighty-four (84) gambling computers. During execution of their search warrant on Friday, they seized the computers, $10,000 in cash, a 2011 Hyundai and other electronic equipment.

No arrests have been made, but the Clearwater Police Department has forwarded criminal charges against the owner and several managers to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether to prosecute. Continue reading

According to an online story on BayNews9.com this evening, a Florida State University (FSU) student was arrested today on Child Porn Possession charges.According to authorities, detectives obtained a search warrant for 22-year-old Michael Sendker’s home at the Villa del Largo Apartments and that’s where they found the suspected child pornography.Sendker was booked into the Leon County Jail and is now facing twenty eight (28) counts of Possession of Child Pornography.

As many regular readers of this blog already know, this author is a University of Miami School of Law graduate and proud to be a Miami Hurricane!!
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