By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
Overall, police confiscated $15 million to $20 million in U.S. assets owned by Manriquez and one of his real sons, Mario de la Fuente Mix.
Eight people were indicted in what authorities deemed the Derboghossian-De la Fuente Criminal Enterprise.
The story quickly turned into an international scandal, making news in the United States and Mexico because of the Manriquez connection.
The businessman, now 69, was president of the primary cable company in Sonora, OmniCable, which had holdings including the Diário de Sonora newspaper and a TV station. Though he identified himself as Mexican, Manriquez was born in Nogales, Arizona, attended Nogales High School, and the University of Arizona and even was part-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Manriquez's brother, Lorenzo de la Fuente Manriquez, had served as the mayor of Nogales, Mexico, from 2003 to 2006.
Besides Manriquez, Upton, and Naz, police also arrested Mix, and the purported owner of Scorch, Katie Marie Peters, by then Naz's new love interest.
These five — and three other defendants (car salesman Doug Allen, Naz's brother Ara Derboghossian, and another defendant, Nydia Zumela Morales, who has never been found) — were slapped with 102 felony counts alleging fraud, money laundering, hiding the true owners of the businesses, and operating an illegal enterprise.
By the time of the raids and arrests, Jodi Upton was 34 and long past her blurry nightclubbing days. Naz had cheated on her with a younger woman, Peters, who was installed in 2007 as his new frontwoman for Scorch. Upton also had health problems that year. She and Naz had broken up in both their personal and business lives, with Naz also extracting her from the auto dealership.
With her two children in the care of friends, Upton served 66 days before prosecutors agreed to lower the amount of what initially was a $1 million bond.
Police and prosecutors claimed the group was behind an elaborate scheme to secretly pump millions into the car-and-bar businesses to commit money laundering and fraud.
The tale involved a cast of fascinating characters: Mexican aristocrats, Manriquez and Mix; a business-savvy blonde, Upton, who wanted to be more than a patsy; her master-criminal father; a smooth-talking Armenian con man, Naz; a world-famous rap star, Swizz Beatz; Upton's younger rival for Naz's affections, Peters; law enforcement officials in over their heads; and a Valley mother and daughter who negotiated the purchase of a bar in a secret meeting at a gas station.
Yet the complex case, which investigators took more than two years to put together, has all but crumbled.
Within a year, all charges against Manriquez and Mix, the main targets, were dropped. Upton, Allen, and Peters each escaped with a misdemeanor conviction and probation.
Only Naz is stuck with felony charges — but only three, instead of the 75 for which he was indicted. He's scheduled to be sentenced in September.
Meanwhile, ramifications of the case linger: Victims such as Carol and Phaedra Boyce were ruined financially. So was Upton, who considers herself a victim.
Details in this article were culled from court filings, police reports, news accounts, and interviews with Upton, Mix, the Boyces, various lawyers, and others involved with the case. Police and state Attorney General's Office representatives declined comment. Manriquez and Naz never returned messages. Neither did Swizz Beatz.
Numerous questions remain about what really happened with this so-called crime ring. What's certain is that (so far, anyway) prosecution of the investigation's main target — Manriquez — failed.
Because of that, Arizona taxpayers may end up making Manriquez, now suing Arizona and the city of Phoenix for defamation and wrongful prosecution, even wealthier.
Locked up and accused of multiple felonies, Jodi Upton was following uncomfortably in her dad's footsteps.
She was born in 1975 and grew up on Cape Cod as one of four children of a prolific thief. When she was 2, her mother abandoned the family. While Dad was out committing crimes, Jodi first was raised by her grandmother, then by Lynn Alberico, George Upton's girlfriend.
Upton was something of a tomboy, hanging out with her three brothers, riding dirt bikes, and learning to appreciate nice cars. They were the sort of family in which each kid might have two shiny bicycles instead of one. But the kids didn't know, at first, how the money for such things was earned. It became clear as they got older.
"I saw things I shouldn't have seen," she says.
Upton and her siblings found that their home had secret compartments with cash or jewels tucked inside them. She recalls hearing conversations between her father and his buddies about stealing things or transporting shipments of marijuana.
News accounts of George Upton's legal troubles refer to his "charming" and "affable" personality. To cops, he was a sophisticated thug — and slippery as an eel.
He was sentenced in 1981 to nine to 10 years in prison for burglaries on the Cape, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction because police had based a search warrant on an anonymous tip.
His daughter managed to stay out of serious trouble but found challenges in her personal life after having a baby at age 21 with a violent boyfriend. When her boy was 2, she decided to leave her boyfriend and the Cape, where her father was coming under increased scrutiny. She moved into an apartment in Phoenix with a friend of one of her brothers.
Interesting how the editor picks and chosses the comments and wants to keep or delete.. Enough said!
I did not at anytime receive any money for this article... Really... it's comical how you people think...
.She then bought a house in Phoenix with money she had earned from the sale of a classic 1933 Ford her father had given her?? Im sure that was stolen too.. lol Are you Serious Ray?? YOUR SOURCE (JODI) IS NOT VERY CREDIBLE HERE.. I WOULD BE ASHAMED TO WRITE SUCH AN ARTICLE KNOWING THE PAST SHE AND HER FAMILY HAD.. NAZ DOESNT HAVE A PAST LIKE THAT!
again dumb fuck.. ol salty.. NAZ OBVIOUSLY DIDNT HAVE A CRIME IN MIAMI.. GET YOUR STORY RIGHT! DAMN YOU ARE WORST THAN RAY STERN WITH YOUR LIES!!
Hey dumb ass ol salty.. get your facts staright.. naz and Ara have been LEGALLY IN THE STATES FOR 45 EFFING YES YOU MORAN!! Dont you think if they were illeagal they would have been deported by now? Maybe they need to start deporting dumb asses like yourself that think they know it all!! bahahahahahaha...
honestly i thought this spread was about a man .. rupaul looking mofucker.. someone get this bitch off the cover!!!!!!!!! dam!
Ray Stern, you said her hubby, that is short for husband, is it not? Didn't you write , when "her child was 2 she decided to leave her hubby" You also wrote she was a victim, she obviously did not tell you all of the story, she sold part of her bar to young man for 100,000, got the money,and then kicked him out of the business and walked away from it and sold it again, for 1.00 and all of the hundreds of thousand of dollars of debt, she did not let it go for a fake kidney surgury, you should of talked to the young man that gave her that money. How do you sell a business, recieve the cash, and not own it? She ripped him off, and he had no recourse, and tried to get his money back, to no avail. You should have done your homework, instead of letting her scam you, like she has everyone else.
A fantasy that rich people don't always spend their money according to capitalist wetdreams? or that Stern couldn't be bothered to have learned in HIGH SCHOOL that in 1955, Armenia was a Soviet Republic and folks were getting free passes to be taken in as political refugees for pretty much any reason from those countries - especially if they provided a debriefing to the CIA when they arrived here? I would have liked to see if there were any criminal records of Naz' family in Armenia.
Your so right Tomato, but this reporter, did not do his homework at all, she lied about so many things, she never had a husband, that's public record, did he check out any of her story at all, or just write . To let her hurt so many people in this story without checking it out, is terrible,
This is a joke, I have known this woman, and a long time.Shame on the New Times not checking out all of her lies. She was NEVER been married in her life, the story talks about her violent husband, they were crack addicts, and he died in a car wreck, she then moved here and lived in her car. She is a money hungry bitter bitch. She has not seen her 10 year old child since the day school let out. She left him with his father for the whole summer as she always does, yet she talks about him that way, seriously if that were true, would you leave him there, and never even see him until school starts? She has stolen, lied, and embezeled for years, she went to the state and told all these lies with the other creep Doug, about Mario and Naz, thinking she would get something, she got nothing but arrested. While she was in jail she let her children sleep in a garage on a mattress with another crack head friend, instead of with their grandmother. She is evil, and whoever took the pictures did a great job of touch up, as she on a daily basis looks like an ugly transvestite, seriously! I hope Mario, all the stars, and everyone else she lied about sue the paper, and she ends up back in jail, it is inevitable, she is just like her criminal father. She never needed a kidney operation, that was a scam to get 49,000, and she got it, and said it went away, because she ate raw food, what a disgrace, She even admits in the article her old boyfriend when she was young bought her boobs, but she doesn't give his name, as she is afraid, because he was a drug dealer, hopefully the next one she scams, is for mental help, she surely needs it. Shame on her, and shame n the New Times!
You have no idea wat ur talking about number 1 number 2 Upton stoled from Naz and his family and doing this spread shows u wats she's all about MONEY!
who is this bitch trying to look like and portray herself to be? Marilyn Monroe.. pathetic. sounds like to me somebody got a little mad over rejection and needs some money huh?! I just dont understand how someone involved in such a "case" is now writing some story to gain attention.. or maybe not get in trouble so shes whipping up a storm about other people?! This whole article sounds like some destitute woman trying to either not get in trouble for some crime she did , or just get attention and money.
Interesting story. I kept asking myself where the dirty money was coming from..... It appears Ms. Upton has learned well from her father, however. Seems the apple didn't fall far from the tree in this case.