LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury today filed a 34-point indictment against Jose Huizar, an elected member of the Los Angeles City Council, for running a criminal company using his powerful position in City Hall, to enrich himself and his close associates, who illegally provided favorable treatment to developers who financed and facilitated bribes and other illegal financial benefits.
The charges include last month's allegations Criminal complaint This accused the 51-year-old Huizar from Boyle Heights of conspiring to violate the RICO law (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations). The indictment alleges in particular 402 overt acts Huizar and his co-conspirators have committed to promote their criminal activity, including bribery, honest fraud, and money laundering.
In addition to the RICO conspiracy charge, the charges against Huizar are as follows: 12 cases of fraud with honest service; two cases of honest email fraud; four counts of interstate travel in support of extortion; six cases of bribery; five cases of money laundering; a count of the structuring of cash deposits to hide bribes; a count of making a false statement to a financial institution; a count of false statements to federal law enforcement agencies; and a tax evasion count.
Huizar is expected to appear via video conference on his trial, which is scheduled for August 3 in the District Court of the United States.
Huizar has represented Council District 14 (CD-14) since 2005, which includes downtown Los Angeles and surrounding communities. Huizar was the chairman of the city's influential planning and land use management committee for several years, a position he lost following FBI execution, search warrants at his city offices and personal residence in November 2018. Agents seized around 129,000 US dollars while searching his home. Dollar cash that was kept in Huizar's closet and that he was charged with from a Chinese billionaire and another businessman who asked for favors from him.
The indictment alleges that Huizar operated the "CD-14 Enterprise" with co-conspirators, including "Individual 1", a former director general of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Security and former vice mayor. George Esparza, Huizar's former special assistant; and real estate development consultant George Chiang. Members and employees of the criminal company described Huizar as their "boss", operated as a criminal organization, and worked together for common purposes, the indictment said.
The CD-14 company was said to have several goals, including enriching its members and employees with honesty, such as bribery, extortion, and fraud. Promoting its political goals and maintaining its control and authority; Disguising the company's financial activities; and protecting the company by disguising its activities and protecting the company from discovery by law enforcement agencies, the city and the public.
Among the numerous allegations of corruption, the indictment alleges that Huizar illegally accepted more than $ 800,000 in benefits from Chairman E, a Chinese billionaire who runs a multinational development company and owns a hotel in the Huizar district. Chairman E provided $ 600,000 in collateral to fund the settlement of a lawsuit against Huizar that a former CD-14 employee had filed against Huizar.
The indictment describes Huizar's concealment of illegal services, including instructing his special assistants on how to avoid bank reporting requirements, using his family members to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, providing false information about a bank loan application, and his not to report illegal benefits on tax returns and ethics disclosure forms. Huizar is said to have participated in obstructive behaviors, including trying to influence other witnesses and lying to the federal prosecutor and the FBI.
Overall, Huizar is said to have agreed to accept at least $ 1.5 million in illegal financial benefits.
An indictment contains allegations that a suspect committed a crime. Each accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.
The charges of RICO conspiracy, fraudulent service, and money laundering each impose a maximum legal sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The charge of providing false information to a financial institution has a maximum legal penalty of 30 years in prison. The bribes stipulate a maximum legal penalty of 10 years in the federal prison. Charges for tax evasion, structuring, false statements to law enforcement agencies, and interstate travel in favor of extortion are a maximum of five years.
Huizar is the fifth person to be indicted in the ongoing corruption investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General. The other four defendants pleaded guilty. Esparza, Chiang, and Justin Jangwoo KimEsparza, Chiang and Kim are working on the ongoing investigation to collect donations that have admitted to providing bribes. They are due to be sentenced by US District Judge John F. Walter in February 2021.
Former Los Angeles City Council Mitchell Englander pleaded guilty on July 7 for allegedly falsifying facts relating to travel to Las Vegas and Palm Springs financed by a businessman. The hearing of Englanders is scheduled for December 7, also before Judge Walter.
The cases against Huizar and his associates in the CD-14 Enterprise are being handled by United States Assistant Attorney Mack E. Jenkins, head of the Department of Public Corruption and Civil Rights, and United States Assistant Lawyers, Veronica Dragalin and Melissa Mills, Department of Public Corruption and Civil Rights also pursued by the United States Attorney's Office.
Any member of the public who has information about this or any other public corruption issue in the city of Los Angeles is encouraged to send information to the FBI's email address at (Email protected) or contact the FBI office in Los Angeles at (310) 477-6565.
Powered by Facebook comments