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.

Then, jail.

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.

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38 comments
William_Miller
William_Miller

I always thought celebrity leisure time was a thing not really interesting to me. If they spend their money on charity or environment protection, that would attract me. But buying expensive toys is rotten and antisocial and rude!

William - http://www.carid.com/

pushkush
pushkush

Do your thing girl. I'm kind of envious of your adventure through this life, let em hate, stay up.

Mary
Mary

Interesting how the editor picks and chosses the comments and wants to keep or delete.. Enough said! 

ray.stern
ray.stern moderator writer

 @Mary Mary -- some of the comments were randomly deleted after we switched over to the new commenting system. In fact, one of my own was deleted accidentally -- it mentioned a minor correction we made to the story, (Upton's former boyfriend in Massachusetts was erroneously called her "hubby" in one of the references to him.)

Jodi
Jodi

I did not at anytime receive any money for this article... Really... it's comical how you people think... 

Bob
Bob

hmmm

someone who knows
someone who knows

.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!

Jodi
Jodi

That's exactly how I bought my house... I sold the vehicle to mario... through the dealership and used the money as down payment on my home... the vehicle was not stolen... it was purchased in Massachusetts from a reputable dealer... ALL OF THIS IS PUBLIC RECORD!

someone who knows
someone who knows

JODI PROBABLY SLEPT WITH THE RAY TO GET HER LIES ON HERE.. WOULDNT SURPRISE ME..

Jodi
Jodi

hahahahahaha... teeeee hehehehe.... I tried... but Ray doesn't like transvestites...

someone who knows
someone who knows

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!!

someone who knows
someone who knows

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...

mary
mary

hey mason.. you dnt know me so go eff yourself! Better yet.. go eff jodi.. lmfao!!

whocares3
whocares3

Well stay on it unochit!!!!!

fuku
fuku

Hahahahaha. Yet another joke

unochit
unochit

i'm on therapy because of this

mason
mason

marry you remind me of jodi...LMAO

fuk0
fuk0

Hahahahaha. U made a joke

Djpbone
Djpbone

It wasn't fun for my friend who got swindled along with the Boyce's and others. Trust that.

Lenni Rosenblum
Lenni Rosenblum

Another thrilling story by Ray Stern. Well done, Ray!

unochit
unochit

JODi. YOUR. JOKE!!!!! AND a WHORE oh and lets not forget A GOLD DIGGER and a FUCKED up MOTHER!!!!)!

raysternsajoke
raysternsajoke

honestly i thought this spread was about a man .. rupaul looking mofucker.. someone get this bitch off the cover!!!!!!!!! dam!

rapster
rapster

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.

Ray Stern
Ray Stern

The article never said she was married, Rapster.

brody
brody

the middle eastern men are dirty

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

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.

Curious
Curious

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,

Jodi
Jodi

Who was hurt in this story?... I realized that there have been many hurt in the course of this investigation... but this Story? really?... who... did I not read the same article?

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

In which case you should simply write an addendum to the article and submit it to New Times for publication. That way you would get (1) credit for reporting the 'truth' as you see it, and (2) you will show Mr. Stern what a terrible reporter he is. We will be waiting on pins and needles..

rapster
rapster

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!

Jodi
Jodi

WOW... you are quite the person... and my goodness how well you know me... truly... a few things that you might want to know before going on another rant... Nubar spends every summer with his grandmother and father... I have no issues with Naz, what so ever... this whole escapade brought us closer together and we rely on each other alot... the 49k... I never got (check your facts) and yes it did (my kidney issues) go away, until recently... you are obviously bitter at me for some reason... If i have wronged you, then I apologize that my actions have made you feel such anger and resentment... any one that knows me knows that I DO NOT ever do things to hurt people intentionally... At one time I did, to NAZ... but NEVER once did I go to the authorities, Doug did all of that.... As for a crack head... well Dwights father was no such thing, I on the other hand pulled myself out of that nasty little ordeal and went on to become who I am today 'an ugly transvestite'... ANOTHER point... the first person that my boys stayed with when I went away, is an amazing person for taking on 2 children that were not hers and she only had them a few weeks because NO ONE... NO ONE stepped up except for MY FRIENDS... Nubars grandmother was unable to care for the boys... they had no vehicle and no money... there is so much more to the story... I would love to meet for tea and chat, seriously... it seems that you have a one sided view of who I am... if not... I get it... it's easier to vent in a safe forum and share a convoluted story, Ray and I have spoken about the facts that he mixed up and he is willing to do all he can to revive the story on line... Take care and remember there is always more to a story.... Ray wrote this himself with information he received from EVERY source... not just me... Re read it....

William_Miller
William_Miller

@JodiAgree, there's always more to every story. Hidden meaning, between lines sense, you know..

William

cal0
cal0

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!

Curious
Curious

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.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

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.

kspidel
kspidel moderator communitymanager

Giving the new commenting system a test. Hey @Keith Plocek  I have your Facebook walls! And your @keithplocek  twitters! 

 
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