Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Newbury Park contractor sentenced for bribing L.A. County officials

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A Newbury Park man was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison for bribing two Los Angeles County officials in order to secure contracts for his company.

Enrique Contreras, 40, pleaded guilty in May 2019 to one count of bribery and one count of subscribing to a false tax return, according to a new release from the U.S. Department of Justice for the Central District of California.

Contreras was the owner of Lancaster-based company Tel/Pro Voice and Data, Inc., which provides low-voltage electrical wiring, the release states. He previously lived in that area and recently moved to Newbury Park, federal officials said.

From 2013 to 2016, Contreras paid two Los Angeles County officials about $300,000 each to get lucrative government contracts, authorities said.

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The two officials were identified as Mohammad R. Tirmazi, 51, of Alta Loma, who worked in Los Angeles County’s Internal Services Department and Thomas J. Shepos, 71, of Palmdale. Shepos formerly worked in the county’s real estate division, federal officials said. Shepos gave Contreras certain county information that was not available to the public, authorities said.

Both men have pleaded guilty to accepting the bribes, according to the news release.

“Then, in an effort to conceal the bribes and lower Tel/Pro’s taxable income, Contreras falsely claimed that some of the bribe payments, along with other personal expenses, were legitimate business expenses incurred by Tel/Pro,” according to the news release.

As a result of those deductions, the Conejo Valley man failed to report $636,454 in income from 2013 and 2017 and owed $221,366 in unpaid taxes, federal officials said.

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On Monday during sentencing, Contreras was ordered to pay $600,000 in restitution to Los Angeles County and $221,366 to the United States Treasury. It was paid before then however, federal officials said.

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