Friday, October 23, 2020

San Francisco permit consultant faces fraud, money laundering allegations

-

A long time permit consultant in San Francisco was accused Wednesday of fraud and money laundering and has agreed to cooperate with the FBI in its probe of the city’s ongoing corruption scandal.

Walter Wong, 70,  is the latest figure to be caught up in the ever-growing scandal that led to the ouster of San Francisco Public Works Director, Mohammed Nuru, and criminal charges against Nuru’s longtime friends and onetime colleagues, Sandra Zuniga and Balmore Hernandez.

Zuniga had been Nuru’s assistant before joining the mayor’s office. Hernandez worked with Nuru at public works before becoming CEO of a San Francisco construction firm, Azul Works.

Wong faces up to 40 years in prison, said Northern California US Attorney David Anderson, but he is also expected to receive leniency depending on his cooperation with prosecutors. 

- Advertisement -

“For years, he has lined his pockets with bribes from city officials,” said John Bennett,  head of the FBI in San Francisco, of Wong’s conduct.  Bennett declined to be more specific, saying that much of the case remains under seal.

Anderson called the case “disturbing” in its scope and said it involves illegal conduct allegedly dating back as far 2004.

“This investigation is not going away,” he said, in urging uncharged parties to cooperate.  “If you care about San Francisco and you regret your misconduct, it’s still time to do the right thing.”

Federal officials searched Wong’s office earlier this year as federal charging documents outlined his apparent role in arranging for a free trip to China for Nuru. Federal documents alleged that Nuru got the trip in exchange for helping with a project at 555 Fulton Street.

- Advertisement -

Anderson said Wong is the seventh defendant charged in the case, and the second to plead guilty.

Nuru is facing federal charges of wire fraud and lying to the FBI. Authorities said Nuru, along with a local restaurateur, Nick Bovis, arranged to offer a bribe to a local airport commissioner to secure a coveted food concession at San Francisco International Airport. Bovis has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate.

Wong allegedly got more than $2 million for work on a Hilton Hotel project at 750 Kearny St. in San Francisco,  and allegedly paid the hotel manager, Geoffrey Palermo $250,000 in kickbacks. 

 

MUST READ

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...

Fundraiser Elliott Broidy pleads guilty in foreign agent case linked to 1MDB

Major Republican Party and Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy pleaded guilty Tuesday to acting as an unregistered foreign agent, admitting to accepting millions...

Germany issues international arrest warrant for founders of law firm at the centre of Panama Papers

Germany has issued international arrest warrants for the two founders of the firm at the centre of the tax haven scandal exposed by the...
Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest News

This Week

Australian court approves $920 million Westpac money laundering fine

The Federal Court of Australia has agreed on the deal struck between the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and Westpac, ordering the Australian...

Spain extradites former bank CEO sentenced in Iran for corruption

Spain has extradited a fugitive former Iranian executive implicated in a large financial corruption case, in what Iran’s judiciary says is the first such...

US arrests members of international money laundering group QQAAZZ

The US Department of Justice has unsealed charges against 14 members of an international money laundering group known as QQAAZZ. US authorities said the group...

Attorney General Dave Yost subpoenaed in Ohio bribery scandal

Federal officials investigating the House Bill 6 bribery scandal subpoenaed records from Attorney General Dave Yost’s office the day before arresting then-House Speaker Larry Householder and...
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