A 29-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 41 months behind bars for his role in a fraud scheme that duped elderly residents of Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties into believing their grandchildren were in danger in foreign countries and immediately required cash.
Clifford Kirstein, a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty last year in Los Angeles federal court to a wire fraud charge, admitting his role as a phone scammer who made calls to victims while impersonating a grandchild in desperate need of cash.
U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney described the offense as a “very cruel, heartless scheme causing great distress to elderly victims.”
The judge ordered that Kirstein was liable, along with his co-defendants, for $56,258 in restitution to be shared between seven victims.
Kirstein and four other Canadians were charged seven years ago and extradited to Los Angeles in January 2019.
Prosecutors said the defendants induced victims to send thousands of dollars via wire transfers through Western Union or MoneyGram, sometimes soliciting money from the same victim multiple times.
The purported grandchildren were said to be stranded in Canada, Mexico, Bolivia or the Dominican Republic.
Carney said that in one instance Kirstein made threats of violence toward one couple.
In August, Carney sentenced co-defendant Kelen Buchan to four years and three months behind bars for his leading role in the scheme. He was ordered to pay restitution of nearly $520,000 to victims of the scam, which operated eight years ago for about three months from Montreal.
“This was money taken from senior citizens — their life savings and retirement,” Carney said during Buchan’s sentencing hearing in downtown Los Angeles last year. “This was targeting people who have great love for their grandchildren.”
A doctor from Rolling Hills who formerly owned Long Beach Pacific Hospital was sentenced Friday to 15 months in prison for his part in a years-long healthcare scheme that has been referred to as the largest in state history.
A 36-year-old Rolling Hills Estates man was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison Tuesday, after pleading no contest to possessing child porn and inappropriately touching children in two separate incidents dating back to 2003.
Linda Broudreaux stood on the shore of Malaga Cove Beach in Palos Verdes Estates, took a deep breath of ocean air and thought of her late mother.
A man fatally shot himself Thursday in Lake Arrowhead after allegedly killing a woman he was in a relationship with in Rancho Palos Verdes, officials said
After a fleeing stolen vehicle crashed into a homeless encampment in Harbor City, one of the three suspects was stabbed by a homeless person while the other two got away early Tuesday, Sept. 24, authorities said.
A Lompoc man suspected of trying to extort a Palos Verdes Estates couple was in custody Friday morning following an extensive two-day search.
A man found dead from a gunshot wound along an ocean cliffside in Rancho Palos Verdes was the victim of a homicide, authorities said.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $25,000 reward on Tuesday tied to last year’s fatal stabbing of a retired nurse in a parking structure at the Promenade at the Peninsula shopping center in Rolling Hills Estates.
Two teenagers accused of beating and robbing an autistic man in a mall parking structure in Rolling Hills Estates pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in Torrance Superior Court.
Legendary USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic, who was indicted this week in connection with a nationwide college admissions scandal, has close ties to the South Bay and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
A former Palos Verdes High School student who was acquitted in July of a first-degree murder charge has been arrested on suspicion of committing a carjacking when he was a juvenile, police said Wednesday.
A Rancho Palos Verdes man was sentenced to 14 years in state prison Thursday, Dec. 20, a year after he attempted to kidnap a 13-year-old girl at gunpoint as she walked to school.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators released photos this week in an attempt to get the public’s help in identifying a man and a woman seen at a Rancho Palos Verdes mortuary where jewelry was stolen.
Police were searching Monday for a man and a woman in their 50s who allegedly approached two 11-year-old boys in a vehicle in Palos Verdes Estates and told them to "Get in the car!" police said.
Cameron Terrell, the former Palos Verdes High School student accused of joining an inner-city gang and driving the getaway car during a violent ordeal that left a 21-year-old dead, was found not guilty on Monday of murder and two other charges.
A woman arrested in the stabbing death of a woman in a mall parking structure in Rolling Hills Estates was released from custody Tuesday, a day after the District Attorney’s Office — citing the need for more investigation — held off on filing a case against her.
A Palos Verdes Estates man was sentenced Wednesday to 14 days in jail for an October 2015 attack that left a then 50-year old man with a traumatic head injury.
A woman hailed by members of the MeToo movement has settled her sexual harassment lawsuit against the staffing agency that placed her in a dishwashing position at the Terranea Resort for $250,000, her attorney announced Tuesday.
Deputies with the Lomita Sheriff’s Station are looking for three suspects who stole a wallet out of an unlocked vehicle and made purchase at a local electronics store.
In an example of “real-world learning” at Marymount California University, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell shared some of the highs of lows of law enforcement with nearly 200 criminal justice students, faculty and staff on Tuesday, April 24.
Four adult males were arrested on suspicion of mail theft and illegal drug possession in Palos Verdes Estates early Tuesday morning, police said.
Police arrested a Palos Verdes Estates man, recovered five guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition, and seized plastic bags containing heroin and methamphetamine during a narcotics operation last week.
The Bay Boys, the drug culture and the affluent nature of the Palos Verdes Peninsula will be on the big screen for the world to see in the new movie, “The Tribes of Palos Verdes.”
For the second time, the Palos Verdes Estates City Council took new recommendations on potential changes to the city’s police department to scale back spending.
Lisa Patterson purchased her tickets for the Route 91 Harvest Festival six months in advance. She loved country music and couldn’t wait to go with four female friends.
Jurors last week convicted a 22-year-old man of killing a Long Beach artist and then lighting his body on fire in Rancho Palos Verdes in what prosecutors said was an attempt to cover up the crime.