Tag: bel air

Volunteers Needed For Santa Monica Homeless Count

January 9, 2024 ·

SANTA MONICA—The City of Santa Monica is seeking volunteers for the 2024 homeless count to be held on January 24, from 8:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m. The effort will be overseen by the Los Angeles Homeless Authority (LAHSA) in an effort to address and strengthen the lives of those living in homelessness.

According to the City of Santa Monica’s webpage, volunteers may register to help with the homeless count at TheyWillCountYou.org. For more information, please contact LAHSA at homelesscount@lahsa.org or call (213)683-3333.

Reports indicate that the homeless count rose by nine percent between 2022 and 2023 in Los Angeles and by 45 percent in Santa Monica. This is an increase from 4,604 in 2022 up to 6,669 people living in homelessness in Santa Monica in 2023.

Los Angeles County is divided into eight service planning areas. Santa Monica is included in SPA 5 along with many of the other cities in our coverage area including, Bel Air, Beverly Hills Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, and Westwood.

The cities in SPA 5 outside or on the outskirts of the Canyon News coverage area are Beverly Crest, Century City, Culver City, Holmby Hills, Mar Vista Marina Del Rey, Manchester, Palms, Rancho Park, South Robertson, Venice, and Westchester.

By Sharon

Jennifer Lopez Selling Bel Air Property

October 24, 2023 ·

BEL AIR—Actress, singer and dancer Jennifer Lopez has sold her Bel Air property for more than $34 million, TMZ first reported on Monday, October 23. The actress first listed the property in February 2023 for over $42.5 million.  Lopez purchased the property back in 2016 for $28 million.

The home has a total of 9 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a guest house, a gym, an infinity pool, an amphitheater that seats over 100 people and a screening room that seats 30 people.

The agent with the listing on Lopez’s Bel Air property was Brett Lawyer from Carolwood Estates. Jennifer Lopez recently purchased a home in Beverly Hills for $60 million with husband, actor Ben Affleck. The couple married back in the summer of 2022.

The actress got her start as a ‘Fly Girl’ dancer on the sketch comedy series “In Living Color” in 1991. She has starred in the films “Selena,” “Anaconda,” “The Cell,” “Hustlers” and recently the Netflix action-thriller, “The Mother.”

She has released a total of 8 solo albums during her music career including the singles, “If You Had My Love,” “Waiting for Tonight,” “I’m Real,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” “Jenny from the Block” and “All I Have.” She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013.

By Trevor

Dejean Thompkins, Dontae Williams And Daries Stanford Arrested For Triple Homicide

May 12, 2023 ·

Blue police light flashes on a generic crime scene at night in an urban area.

BEL AIR—On Friday, May 12, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that three suspects involved in a triple homicide back in January 2023, have been identified. Dejean Thompkins, 28, Dontae Williams, 23 and Daries Stanford, 28 – all residents of Chicago, Illinois – have all been arrested and are awaiting extradition back to Los Angeles to face charges.

(From left) Daries Stanford, Dejean Thompkins and Dontae Williams.

On January 28, at around 2:30 a.m., LAPD West Los Angeles officers responded to 911 calls about a shooting in the 2700 block of Ellison Drive. When officers arrived at the scene, they observed three victims – later identified as Iyana Hutton, 33, Nenah Davis, 29, and Destiny Sims, 26 – shot dead inside of a car outside of the residence. Four additional victims were wounded and transported to local hospitals. 

According to LAPD Robbery Homicide Division Captain, Johnathan Tippet, Hutton, Davis and Sims were life-long friends and residents of Chicago. The three victims were visiting Los Angeles in support of a Chicago rapper – whose identity was not disclosed – and were returning to their vacation rental after a night of bowling the night the incident occurred. Thompkins, Williams and Stanford – driving a blue four-door Tesla – reportedly approached the residence, and in an ambush-style attack, shot 30 rounds that killed the three victims and shot four additional victims, who all survived and whose identities are being withheld. 

Two semi-automatic weapons were believed to have been used in this incident.

The LAPD’s investigation connected Thompkins to another homicide investigation that occurred in North Hollywood, on December 16, 2022. Julian Bynum was shot multiple times on the sidewalk in front of an apartment complex on the 6800 Block of Simpson Avenue. LAPD did not disclose if Stanford and/or Williams were involved in this incident.

In both these cases the suspects used ambush style tactics on their unsuspecting victims, Tippet said. 

(From left) Iyana Hutton, Nenah Davis, Destiny Sims and Julian Bynum.

On April 10, Thompkins was arrested in Chicago. On April 26, Williams reportedly fled and was located in Gary, Indiana, where he was arrested. On May 10, Stanford was arrested in Manhattan, New York. 

The victims in the two homicides are not reportedly connected. All suspects and victims – both deceased and surviving – are residents of Chicago. Thompkins, Williams and Stanford are believed to be gang affiliated and reportedly live within miles from the neighborhoods in which the victims lived or are from. No further details were disclosed. 

LAPD Homicide detectives are unable to disclose the motive behind both homicides at this time, but believe that Hutton, Davis and Sims were not the intended targets. Bynum is believed to have been the suspects intended target.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Major Crimes Section, has filed four counts of murder against Thompkins and three counts of murder against both Williams and Stanford. All three suspects are also being charged with six counts of attempted murder and six counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm. 

Additionally, the LA District Attorney’s Office approved filing enhancements against the suspects involved in this case. The investigation remains ongoing. 

Elderly Couple Injured During Home Invasion

May 3, 2023 ·

BEL AIR—A home invasion in Bel Air that occurred on Friday, April 28, left an elderly couple injured. 

Just before 1 a.m. that day three to four masked suspects entered the residence located on the 1300 block of Casiano Road. The couple was watching TV when the suspects ransacked the home and tied the couple up. The victims are said to be a woman in her 60’s and a man in 70’s. They were both found with bruises. According to reports the male victim was struck several times in the head during the invasion which lasted more than an hour.

The couple’s son later arrived at the scene and discovered his parents. Both police and paramedics were on their way to the scene. They sustained non-life threatening injuries and were not required to be transported for medical attention. 

According to investigators the suspects got away with a large amount of cash but did not disclose the exact amount that was taken. 

The suspects have not been found and police are currently investigating the case. They are looking through the neighborhood to see if anyone has surveillance video of the attackers.

The suspects have been described as all male but other information that could help identify them has not been released. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the LAPD at 1-877-527-3247.

Lev Aslan Dermen Sentenced To 40 Years For Tax Scheme

April 8, 2023 ·

BEL AIR—A Bel Air billionaire, gas station tycoon and an alleged former leader of the Armenian mafia – Lev Aslan Dermen, 56, also known as Levon “The Lion” Termendzhyan  – has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for conspiring with members of a Utah-based polygamist sect known as the Kingston Group, in a $1 billion renewable fuel tax credit fraud scheme, the U.S. Department of Justice released in a statement. After a seven-week trial, Dermen, Jacob Kingston, 46, Isaiah Kingston, 42, Rachel Kingston, 67, and Sally Kingston, 45, were sentenced by a federal jury in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, April 7. 

The Internal Revenue Service administers refundable tax credits in an attempt to promote and increase the amount of renewable fuel produced and used in the United States. 

From 2010-2018, Dermen – the owner and operator of Noil Energy Group, a California-based fuel company; SBK Holdings USA, a Beverly Hills real estate investment company; and Viscon International, a Nevada fuel additive corporation – co-conspired with Jacob and Isaiah Kingston – owners and operators of Washakie Renewable Energy – to ship millions of gallons of biodiesel fuel within the U.S. and from the U.S. to foreign countries and back to make it appear that qualifying renewable fuel was being produced and sold. Dermen and the Kingston’s created fraudulent production and transportation records and cycled over $3 billion through multiple bank accounts in order to legitimize their fraudulent tax claims. 

Rachel (Isaiah’s mother) and Sally Kingson took part in the scheme by backdating documents and creating fake invoices. As a result, the IRS ultimately paid out over $511 million in renewable tax credits to Washakie, which the Kingston’s distributed amongst their family, and to Dermen and foreign associates in Turkey. Dermen and the Kingston’s used the fraudulent proceeds to buy mansions in Huntington Beach, California and Utah, a yacht in Turkey, land for a planned casino in Belize, a 2010 Bugatti Veyron, a chrome Lamborghini and a gold Ferrari.

Lev Aslan Dermen (left) with Jacob Kingston (right).

Throughout the scheme, Dermen assured the Kingstons that they were protected by his “umbrella” of corrupt law enforcement and were immune from criminal prosecution. In exchange, the Kingstons transferred over $134 million to laundering companies in Turkey and Luxembourg.

Dermen was found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. In addition to his prison sentence, Dermen is ordered to pay $442,615,520 in restitution to the IRS, and a money judgment of more than $181 million.    

Jacob Kingston, the CEO of Washakie, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, filing false claims with the IRS, money laundering and conspiracy to commit the same, obstruction by concealing and destroying records and conspiracy to commit the same and witness tampering, and was sentenced to 18 years in prison and ordered to pay $511 million in restitution to the IRS.

Jacob (left) and Isaiah Kingston, provided by Weber County Sheriff’s Department.

Isaiah Kingston, the CFO of Washakie, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, aiding and assisting in the filing of false partnership tax returns, money laundering and conspiracy to commit the same and obstruction by concealing and destroying records and conspiracy to commit the same, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison and also ordered to pay $511 million in restitution. 

Rachel Kingston pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit the same and obstruction by concealing and destroying records, and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Sally Kingston pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering and was sentenced to six years. 

The U.S Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department’s Tax Division will seize all assets acquired in what is described as “one of the most egregious examples of tax fraud in U.S. history.” 

This is not the first time the Kingston Group, also referred to as “The Order,” have found themselves in legal peril. Last year, there was a lawsuit against
the Group alleging unpaid labor, sexual violence and
human trafficking.
By Lacy