Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Former aide to LA councilman Huizar pleads guilty in bribery case

-

A former top aide to City Councilman Jose Huizar pleaded guilty Wednesday for his role in a $1.5 million pay-to-play scheme tied to the approval of large building projects.

George Esparza, 33, entered the plea to a federal racketeering conspiracy charge and could face up to 20 years in prison, although he is cooperating with prosecutors and is expected to receive a lesser term when he is sentenced in February.

From 2013 to 2018, Esparza was a special assistant to Huizar, who also is facing a racketeering conspiracy charge but hasn’t yet entered a plea. He was suspended from the City Council after his arrest last month.

Prosecutors said Esparza, Huizar and their cronies illegally profited from development of the city’s burgeoning downtown district by soliciting bribes from developers to ensure their projects received favorable treatment and perks.

- Advertisement -

The payoffs from developers — known as “friends of the office” — included $500,000 in cash in brown paper bags, more than $250,000 worth of casino chips, hotel stays, spa visits, fine dining and campaign contributions, prosecutors contend.

One of the developers, a Chinese billionaire, sought to build a 77-story tower in Huizar’s district that would become the largest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River. The developer, who already had a hotel in the district, allegedly provided benefits worth $800,000 to Huizar and others that included a dozen trips to Las Vegas casinos and funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against the councilman.

Earlier this month, former Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander pleaded guilty to a federal charge for lying to the FBI about receiving gifts and money from a businessman involved in development projects, including envelopes stuffed with $15,000 in cash.

A real estate development consultant and a former political fundraiser also have pleaded guilty to federal charges.

- Advertisement -

MUST READ

Julius Baer to deny two former CEOs their bonuses over money laundering scandal

Julius Baer will withhold millions of francs in bonuses from its former chief executives Boris Collardi and Bernhard Hodler, as a result of a...

Goldman Sachs executives to cover part payments of $3 billion fines in 1MDB scandal

Nine current or former Goldman Sachs executives, including CEO David Solomon, will have to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation over...

Goldman Sachs agrees $3 billion settlement with US DoJ over 1MDB corruption scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal. The...

Hong Kong fines Goldman Sachs $350 million over 1MDB scandal

Goldman Sachs ignored multiple red flags over the multibillion-dollar fundraisings it arranged for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Hong Kong’s financial regulator said on...

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton fires top aide who accused him of bribery

Lacey Mase, one of the top aides who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of crimes including bribery and abuse of office, has been fired, she told The...

Subscribe For More

Get our daily notification on the latest financial crimes news around the World

Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest News

This Week

Goldman Sachs agrees $3 billion settlement with US DoJ over 1MDB corruption scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal. The...

Mozambique seeks prosecution of ex-Credit Suisse bankers implicated in debt scandal

Mozambique's Attorney General's Office said on Wednesday it will seek the extradition of three former Credit Suisse CSGN.S bankers implicated in a $2 billion debt scandal...

Former Jacksonville City Council members set for sentencing in fraud case

Former Jacksonville City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown are scheduled to be in federal court Tuesday to begin a hearing on their...

Swiss court upholds money-laundering conviction of ex-Ukrainian lawmaker Martynenko

A Swiss court has upheld the conviction of former Ukrainian lawmaker Mykola Martynenko for laundering via Swiss banks millions of dollars worth of kickbacks...
Advertisement

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks