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CHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZCHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZ
ATTORNEYS AT LAWATTORNEYS AT LAW
1032 SANTA BARBARA...
THE MURDER OF NICHOLASTHE MURDER OF NICHOLAS
MARKOWITZMARKOWITZ
Famous Santa Barbara Criminal CasesFamous Santa Barbara Cr...
Nicholas Samuel Markowitz (September 19, 1984
– August 9, 2000) was teenager who was kidnapped
and murdered at the age of ...
The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz
The feud between Benjamin Markowitz, Nicholas's older half-brother, and
Jesse James Holly...
The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz
When Hollywood and his gang informed Nicholas of why they were holding him,
he allegedly ...
The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz
Although up to 32 witnesses knew he had been kidnapped they did not notify the
police, as...
The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz
Jesse Rugge bound Nicholas's hands behind his back and covered his mouth
with duct tape.
...
The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz
Legal outcome - criminal trials and a civil lawsuit.
The criminal trials include:
Ryan Ho...
The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz
William Skidmore, aged 20 at the time of the murder, was charged with
kidnapping and robb...
The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz
Jesse James Hollywood, aged 20 at the time of the murder, was not present at
the scene of...
THE MELTDOWN OF MONTECITOTHE MELTDOWN OF MONTECITO
MOTORSMOTORS
Famous Santa Barbara Criminal CasesFamous Santa Barbara Cr...
The Meltdown of Montecito MotorsThe Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Chet and Adam Taylor of Montecito
Motors, after selling o...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
In May, 2009, a Montecito Motors customer brought in a 1969 Mercedes 280SE
that belonged ...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Another customer’s Mercedes was received by Montecito Motors and sold within
six months, ...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Yet another customer was one that knew the Taylors personally, as some of
their children ...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Taylor acknowledged that he and his father had been delaying payments—
disgruntled custom...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Both of the Taylors are as
charming as they are friendly, but
they use these character tr...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
The father-son team Chet and Adam Taylor—had duped dozens of clients out   
of hundreds o...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Motors Operandi
According to the victims, the Taylors would talk a great game—complete wi...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
The Taylors admitted to police that they may have fudged payments here and
there, but onl...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
DA files charges
Named in the complaint are Chet Taylor, his son Adam, daughter Sarah, an...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
A breakdown of the charges shows the following:
— Chet Taylor, 71:
one count conspiracy ...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
— Adam Taylor, 41:
all felonies; one count of misdemeanor employing a salesperson without...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
— Sarah Taylor-Swing, 43:
four felony counts of filing a false tax return; and
— Jennife...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Adam Taylor faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted,
while Chet Taylor faces a maximu...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Adam and Chet Taylor of Montecito Motors returned to court Tuesday and had
their bail low...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
But there was no money to seize…
During a nearly two-year investigation with the state Fr...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Adam and Chet were also charged with a white-collar-crime enhancement, which
means they’l...
The Meltdown of Montecito Motors
Ultimately the Taylors — son Adam, and father Chet — pleaded no contest to 46
felony char...
THE DOWNFALL OF STEVE PYBRUMTHE DOWNFALL OF STEVE PYBRUM
Famous Santa Barbara Criminal CasesFamous Santa Barbara Criminal ...
The Downfall of Steve Pybrum
Steven Mark Pybrum, 61, who advertised on the
Internet and appeared as a tax and financial ex...
The Downfall of Steve Pybrum
Pybrum, CPA, who operated an accounting practice under the names of Pybrum
and Company in San...
The Downfall of Steve Pybrum
Pybrum supposedly set up the nonprofit to provide financial and conflict resolution
to help c...
The Downfall of Steve Pybrum
Further evidence presented showed Pybrum used both accounts to pay his
personal expenses, inc...
CHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZCHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZ
ATTORNEYS AT LAWATTORNEYS AT LAW
1032 SANTA BARBARA...
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Famous Santa Barbara Criminal Cases- Horowitz For Law

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Learn about some famous Santa Barbara Criminal Cases: The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz, Montecito Motors, Steve Pybrum

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Famous Santa Barbara Criminal Cases- Horowitz For Law

  1. 1. CHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZCHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZ ATTORNEYS AT LAWATTORNEYS AT LAW 1032 SANTA BARBARA STREET1032 SANTA BARBARA STREET SANTA BANTA BARBARA, CA 93101SANTA BANTA BARBARA, CA 93101 (805) 452-7214(805) 452-7214 CHRIS@HOROWITZFORLAW.COMCHRIS@HOROWITZFORLAW.COM || SANDY@HOROWITZFORLAW.COMSANDY@HOROWITZFORLAW.COM WWW.HOROWITZFORLAW.COMWWW.HOROWITZFORLAW.COM Famous Santa Barbara Criminal Cases
  2. 2. THE MURDER OF NICHOLASTHE MURDER OF NICHOLAS MARKOWITZMARKOWITZ Famous Santa Barbara Criminal CasesFamous Santa Barbara Criminal Cases
  3. 3. Nicholas Samuel Markowitz (September 19, 1984 – August 9, 2000) was teenager who was kidnapped and murdered at the age of 15 after a feud over drug money between his half-brother Benjamin Markowitz and Jesse James Hollywood. Nicholas Markowitz lived in the West Hills area of Los Angeles with his mother and father. The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz
  4. 4. The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz The feud between Benjamin Markowitz, Nicholas's older half-brother, and Jesse James Hollywood, a mid-level drug dealer, began over an alleged $1,200 debt owed to Hollywood by Markowitz. On August 6, 2000, Hollywood, and his friends Jesse Rugge, and William Skidmore decided to confront Benjamin. On their way to see him, however, they saw Nicholas walking on the side of the road, having run away from home. Hollywood and his gang decided to abduct Nicholas in order to hold him for ransom in lieu of Benjamin's debt. They chased, assaulted, and abducted Nicholas, then escaped in a van.
  5. 5. The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz When Hollywood and his gang informed Nicholas of why they were holding him, he allegedly panicked at first, however, after Hollywood offered Nicholas drugs and alcohol, he felt that he was a part of the group. Hollywood and his gang then picked up Brian Affronti (another one of Hollywood's friends) and drove up to Santa Barbara, California. They attended various house parties. Reports indicate that many witnesses — parents and teens alike — saw the group together but did not realize anything was wrong.
  6. 6. The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz Although up to 32 witnesses knew he had been kidnapped they did not notify the police, as Nicholas appeared to be safe and having fun. Nicholas and Rugge then traveled to the Lemon Tree Inn in Santa Barbara. While at the Inn, the gang held another party in the pool area of the Inn. After the party, members of Jesse's gang allowed Nicholas to believe that he would soon be going home. However, after learning of the legal ramifications they could face for kidnapping, Hollywood called Ryan Hoyt, a member of Jesse's gang who owed him $200, to kill Nicholas. Hollywood gave Hoyt a semi-automatic firearm. The decision was made to commit the murder in the Santa Ynez Mountains, close to West Camino Cielo Road, north of Goleta, California.
  7. 7. The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz Jesse Rugge bound Nicholas's hands behind his back and covered his mouth with duct tape. Hoyt then hit Nicholas in the back of the head with a shovel, knocking him into a shallow grave, and shot Nicholas nine times with Hollywood's semi-automatic pistol. The members of the gang then tried to hide the gun by placing it between the legs of Nicholas's body and covering the body with dirt and branches. However, the grave was too shallow and close to the popular Lizard's Mouth Trail, and Nicholas's body was found on August 12, 2000. Ryan Hoyt, Jesse Rugge, William Skidmore, and Graham Pressley were all arrested following numerous leads to the sheriff's office following Nicholas's death.
  8. 8. The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz Legal outcome - criminal trials and a civil lawsuit. The criminal trials include: Ryan Hoyt, aged 21 at the time of the murder, was charged with first-degree murder. His trial began October 2001 and ended November 2001. He was convicted on November 21, 2001. The "penalty" phase of his trial began November 2001 and he was sentenced to death on December 9, 2001. He is currently on Death Row at San Quentin State Prison. Jesse Rugge, aged 20 at the time of the murder, was charged with aiding in the kidnap and execution of Nicholas Markowitz. He was convicted on the charge of kidnapping in 2002 and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Parole was denied in 2006. As of July 2, 2013, Jesse Rugge has been granted parole. On October 24, 2013, Jesse Rugge was released from prison and is now on parole, after serving 11 years in prison on the charge he was convicted of, aggravated kidnapping.
  9. 9. The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz William Skidmore, aged 20 at the time of the murder, was charged with kidnapping and robbery. In September 2002, he was sentenced to 9 years in a state prison as part of a plea bargain. Skidmore was released in April 2009. Graham Pressley, aged 17 at the time of the murder. He was tried twice. In July 2002 he was acquitted of kidnapping and the jury hung, eight to four in favor of not guilty, on the murder charge. In October 2002, he was retried and convicted of second-degree murder. Pressley helped dig the shallow grave for Nicholas. Pressley was incarcerated at a California Youth Authority facility until shortly before his 25th birthday in 2007. He has since been released.
  10. 10. The Murder of Nicholas Markowitz Jesse James Hollywood, aged 20 at the time of the murder, was not present at the scene of the crime but was found guilty of having ordered the job. He immediately skipped town, but was arrested five years later in Saquarema, Brazil, with his pregnant girlfriend Marcia Reis. In 2009, he was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In addition to the criminal cases, the Markowitz family won a $11.2 million civil lawsuit in 2003 against the kidnappers and killers, as well as secondary people including the family friend whose van was used in the kidnapping and the owners of several homes where Nicholas was held against his will.
  11. 11. THE MELTDOWN OF MONTECITOTHE MELTDOWN OF MONTECITO MOTORSMOTORS Famous Santa Barbara Criminal CasesFamous Santa Barbara Criminal Cases
  12. 12. The Meltdown of Montecito MotorsThe Meltdown of Montecito Motors Chet and Adam Taylor of Montecito Motors, after selling owners’ cars on consignment, wouldn’t honor contractual agreements by fraudulently delaying payment, offering partial payment, or failing to disclose sales altogether. Montecito Motors owner and operator Adam Taylor admitted to the police that the business was hurting financially and unable to keep up with its debts. The Taylor’s fully cooperated with the police during the investigation. Adam Taylor being led out of court | Photo by Paul Wellman | SB Independent May 18, 2012
  13. 13. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors In May, 2009, a Montecito Motors customer brought in a 1969 Mercedes 280SE that belonged to his late father for consignment sale. It was sold in December 2009 without his knowledge, and he has yet to see a dime of the $50,000 he’s owed. When the customer stopped by the dealership to check on the car, they were told it had been checked out by a prospective buyer. THE TRUTH WAS, IT WAS ALREADY SOLD. The customer filed a police report alleging grand theft auto and fraud— explaining he doesn’t know how the company could have executed a title transfer without the proper signatures on the vehicle’s pink slip—as well as launching a lawsuit and subpoenaing the DMV for all documents related to the sale. The customer said he didn’t know where the car went, who bought it, or what price Montecito Motors got for the vehicle.
  14. 14. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors Another customer’s Mercedes was received by Montecito Motors and sold within six months, but the customer didn’t learn of the transaction until a year afterwards. When the customer stopped by the lot, they were told that the car was in the possession of a recent buyer. The fact that they weren’t informed about the sale was just an oversight. The customer was told that Adam would call immediately to clear things up. He never did. The customer eventually contacted their finance company, to which they were still making car payments, and the finance company cited a document that surrendered ownership of the car to Montecito Motors. Surprised, because they had never signed such a document, the customer asked for a copy and found that a signature had been forged twice. When the customer confronted Adam, they said he admitted to them in that the signatures were forged to “speed things up.”
  15. 15. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors Yet another customer was one that knew the Taylors personally, as some of their children went to school together, before his business dealings with them went south. This particular customer said that because he lived most of the year in France, the Taylors had an easier time keeping him out of the loop when the Jaguar and Mercedes he brought to Montecito Motors were bought without him knowing it.
  16. 16. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors Taylor acknowledged that he and his father had been delaying payments— disgruntled customers said sometimes there would be delays of months at a time while calls were being dodged—in order to make previous clients whole in the meantime. Taylor complained about being “overextended” and finding himself in a position unable to pay clients back. He also mentioned it’s been difficult to secure credit because he had “defaulted on a couple of people.” In his opinion, Montecito Motors had been trying to “get out from under the bills” as the economy has “put [it] behind the eight ball.”
  17. 17. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors Both of the Taylors are as charming as they are friendly, but they use these character traits to their sinister advantage. “The level of expertise that they had in being able to bamboozle was absolutely uncanny… these are people who could inspire confidence in anyone.” Photos courtesy of Noozhawk, 12/27/2011
  18. 18. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors The father-son team Chet and Adam Taylor—had duped dozens of clients out    of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their scheme reportedly involved selling high-end, pre-owned cars out of their Chapala Street lot on consignment but then allegedly shirking contracts by fraudulently delaying payments, offering partial payments, or failing to disclose sales altogether. When news broke that the Taylors had abruptly closed shop, six disgruntled customers filed police reports with SBPD. 23 more people who claim they were similarly ripped off when their cars were sold without their knowledge and they were never paid. The Taylors either pocketed or redirected around $750,000 of their customers’ money and possibly forged signatures in order to secretly transfer titles, which is fraud, embezzlement, and grand theft charges.
  19. 19. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors Motors Operandi According to the victims, the Taylors would talk a great game—complete with    firm handshakes and beaming smiles—promising to sell their cars quickly and    for a fair price. But once months passed without any action, the victims would start to get curious and press the Taylors to see if there was any buyer interest. Oftentimes, their cars had already been quietly sold. Some were shipped overseas, others driven by unwitting buyers right off the lot. All the while, many of the victims were continuing—and still continue—to make        payments on vehicles now driven by someone else because the titles are still legally in their names. When customers eventually showed up at the downtown lot asking for their cars back, the Taylors would reportedly employ an arsenal of excuses, explaining that the vehicle was being cleaned, test driven, or repaired somewhere else.
  20. 20. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors The Taylors admitted to police that they may have fudged payments here and there, but only because they were trying to catch up when the economy tanked. Their victims, though, see the Taylors as nothing short of white-collar crooks. It’s not clear exactly how the money was spent or funneled, but it’s widely speculated the Taylors used the cash they made from selling one person’s car to pay another client back. By all accounts, the family is now hurting financially, making it unlikely the victims will ever be made whole.
  21. 21. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors DA files charges Named in the complaint are Chet Taylor, his son Adam, daughter Sarah, and wife Jennifer. Chet and Adam were taken into custody. Bail set at $1 million each. The Taylors were suspected of stealing more than $1 million from 26 different victims. The complaint alleges Adam and Chet Taylor illegally obtained duplicate titles, forged signatures, and lied to owners of vehicles that had been sold. They would delay payments or not pay owners of vehicles at all.
  22. 22. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors A breakdown of the charges shows the following: — Chet Taylor, 71: one count conspiracy to commit grand theft, 14 counts of grand theft, two counts of forgery, six counts of theft from an elder, six counts of filing false tax returns, all felonies; one misdemeanor count of being a salesperson without a license;
  23. 23. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors — Adam Taylor, 41: all felonies; one count of misdemeanor employing a salesperson without a license and three misdemeanor counts of failing to transfer registration one count of conspiracy to commit grand theft, one count of grand theft by false pretense, nine counts of grand theft, four counts of theft from an elder, one count of forgery, six counts of failure to file a corporate income tax return, five counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of failure to file income tax returns;
  24. 24. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors — Sarah Taylor-Swing, 43: four felony counts of filing a false tax return; and — Jennifer Taylor, 65: five felony counts of filing a false tax return.
  25. 25. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors Adam Taylor faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted, while Chet Taylor faces a maximum of 32 years in state prison. Sarah Taylor-Swing faces five years in prison, while Jennifer Taylor faces a potential of five years and eight months in prison if convicted.
  26. 26. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors Adam and Chet Taylor of Montecito Motors returned to court Tuesday and had their bail lowered to $100,000 apiece from the original $1 million for each. The District Attorney’s Office estimates the Taylors stole $1.2 million from 27 of their customers over a period of six or so years. Adam Taylor ordered to pay the state $2.28 million in unpaid business sales tax and $2.9 million in business income tax. Allegations that tax evasion occurred as far back as 1998.
  27. 27. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors But there was no money to seize… During a nearly two-year investigation with the state Franchise Tax Board and California Board of Equalization — found virtually no assets to seize. Most of the money the Taylors stole was either spent on a lavish lifestyle or sunk into at least four homes with underwater mortgages that have since been foreclosed on.
  28. 28. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors Adam and Chet were also charged with a white-collar-crime enhancement, which means they’ll serve their time in state prison instead of County Jail, where most offenders with nonviolent and non-sex-related crimes are housed. If they had chosen to take the case to trial, they would have faced prison sentences of 30 years or more. The father and son agreed to 12 years each, but Chet offered to take an extra year in prison so Adam’s sentence would be reduced.
  29. 29. The Meltdown of Montecito Motors Ultimately the Taylors — son Adam, and father Chet — pleaded no contest to 46 felony charges of conspiracy, grand theft, and tax evasion linked to their operation of Montecito Motors, for at least a decade before it closed in 2010, was used as home base for a series of white collar crimes. Allegedly they stole approximately $1.2 million from 26 clients by selling their cars off the Chapala Street lot then not paying the victims by forging title signatures, filing false tax returns, and misleading creditors. Adam, 41, was sentenced to 11 years in state prison. Chet, 71, struck a deal with prosecutors to take a year of Adam’s sentence and was given 13 years.
  30. 30. THE DOWNFALL OF STEVE PYBRUMTHE DOWNFALL OF STEVE PYBRUM Famous Santa Barbara Criminal CasesFamous Santa Barbara Criminal Cases
  31. 31. The Downfall of Steve Pybrum Steven Mark Pybrum, 61, who advertised on the Internet and appeared as a tax and financial expert on national TV, was found guilty October 2012 in Los Angeles. 4 counts of willfully making and subscribing to a false income tax return (26 USC 7206(1)). Sentenced to 36 months in federal prison, and one year of probation.
  32. 32. The Downfall of Steve Pybrum Pybrum, CPA, who operated an accounting practice under the names of Pybrum and Company in Santa Barbara and Family Business Center was convicted on four counts of subscribing to false income tax returns for tax years from 1999- 2002. Prosecutors said evidence proved that Pybrum brought in about $380,000 per year as an accountant but instead deposited those receipts into a bank account for his nonprofit charitable organization, the Foundation for Harmony and Happiness.
  33. 33. The Downfall of Steve Pybrum Pybrum supposedly set up the nonprofit to provide financial and conflict resolution to help couples avoid financial disputes, which Pybrum claimed to be the leading cause of divorce. Pybrum did not report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income on his own tax return but instead reported the income had been earned by the nonprofit providing marital counseling. Prosecutors said there was no evidence that the foundation actually did any charitable work or earned any money for charitable activities during the four years. They also said the Foundation for Harmony and Happiness was simply a name on a bank account that Pybrum created to avoid paying taxes.
  34. 34. The Downfall of Steve Pybrum Further evidence presented showed Pybrum used both accounts to pay his personal expenses, including renting space in a Montecito mansion and buying an airplane, fishing boat and SUV. The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation into Pybrum’s financial affairs. The result:  4 counts of willfully making and subscribing to a false income tax return (26 USC 7206(1)).  Sentenced to 36 months in federal prison, and one year of probation.  CPA license was revoked for dishonesty and fraud.
  35. 35. CHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZCHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZ ATTORNEYS AT LAWATTORNEYS AT LAW 1032 SANTA BARBARA STREET1032 SANTA BARBARA STREET SANTA BANTA BARBARA, CA 93101SANTA BANTA BARBARA, CA 93101 (805) 452-7214(805) 452-7214 CHRIS@HOROWITZFORLAW.COM | SANDY@HOROWITZFORLAW.COMCHRIS@HOROWITZFORLAW.COM | SANDY@HOROWITZFORLAW.COM WWW.HOROWITZFORLAW.COMWWW.HOROWITZFORLAW.COM Famous Santa Barbara Criminal Cases

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