Lawyer, Wife Convicted in Extortion Plot Against Businesses

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A California attorney and his wife were convicted of engaging in a scheme to extort minority, immigrant-owned businesses.

Rogelio Morales and spouse Mireya Arias, both of Riverside, were convicted Monday on several charges, including extortion, attempted grand theft, burglary and hate-crime allegations.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Samuel Diaz Jr. ordered both Morales and Arias into custody without bail.

Morales also was convicted of felony stalking and a dozen misdemeanor contempt-of-court convictions stemming from violating a restraining order against him for harassing Rosa Elena Sahagun, an attorney who was advising several business owners who Morales and Arias had sued.

Morales' one comment in court was to tell Diaz, "the sooner, the better for me," as prosecutors and Arias' defense attorney worked out a sentencing date for the couple. They settled on Jan. 8.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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