Irwindale embezzlers update
Posted in the Rowland Heights Forum
#1 Apr 7, 2014
LOS ANGELES >> Irwindales retired finance director, Abraham Abe De Dios, pleaded no contest Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court to a misdemeanor count of conflict of interest related to lavish trips he and other city officials took to New York City.
De Dios, 69, was sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $5,301 to the city of Irwindale in restitution and more than $4,000 in court fees and fines.
If he violates the conditions of his probation, he will be sentenced to one year in county jail, Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor said.
De Dios and his attorney Daniel Nixon approached Deputy District Attorney Kennes Ma to negotiate a plea agreement.
He wants to move on with his life, said Nixon.
Irwindale Mayor Mark Breceda, City Councilman Manuel Garcia and former City Councilwoman, now planning commissioner, Rosemary Ramirez have been charged with felony counts of embezzlement, conflict of interest and misappropriation of public funds in the same case.
The officials spent $200,000 in public funds on lavish trips taken between 2001 and 2005 to New York City in an effort to increase the city of about 1,400 residents bond rating, this newspaper reported in 2007.
The other defendants continue to fight the charges against them. Their attorneys have argued the statute of limitations has expired on the conflict of interest and misappropriation of public funds charges.
They have not yet entered a plea in the case that was re-filed in August.
The officials are expected to appear in court Wednesday.
Nixon declined to say whether or not De Dios has been asked by prosecutors to testify against the other three defendants.
I dont know what will happen with the others, Nixon said.
Under the charges filed, the maximum penalty that De Dios faced was nine years imprisonment, Ma said.
If the terms of his probation are complete, the remaining charges will be dismissed, according to the agreement.
De Dios has already completed 100 hours of community service for Habitat for Humanity, he told the judge.
Under the conflict of interest statute, De Dios is prohibited from running for elected office. His attorney said De Dios has no plans to seek work in city government.
Ma said prosecutors were willing to enter into an agreement with De Dios because he did not receive money from the city for the trips.
The other defendants received per diem payments for meal expenses during the trips even though third-party bond underwriters picked up the tab for each of the expenses which included dinners at expensive restaurants,$775-per-night stays at the Ritz Carlton, limousine services, New York Yankees tickets and Broadway shows. The underwriters then charged the city for the payments.
He didnt receive any money from the city, Nixon said.The thing that got him embroiled in this prosecution was that his role as city finance director involved the reimbursements that were paid to council members.
The case has been under adjudication since 2010, when officials were initially charged with misappropriation of public funds, the embezzlement and conflict of interest charges were added later.
In April 2012, an appellate court ruled that prosecutors failed to show the grand jury two documents that indicated the city had a practice of allowing city officials to collect a $75 daily meal allowance when traveling on city business, even when meals are paid for by a third-party. The court said prosecutors failed to prove the officials knew the trips were paid for out of city funds because the trips were hosted by a third-party consultant, who then billed the city.
In the same case, former City Manager Steve Blancarte pleaded guilty in 2011 to misappropriation of public funds as part of a plea deal. He, too, was sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation and had to pay about $20,000 in fines and restitution.
#2 Apr 7, 2014
He is going to testify
The D A dropped 15 felonies and let him plead to one misdemeanor
He is going to testify
#3 Apr 7, 2014
I wounder how he completed 100 hours of community service before he was sentenced to 100 hours of community service
#5 Apr 7, 2014
Irwindale official sentenced for taking 'lavish trips' on city's dime
Monday, April 07, 2014
IRWINDALE, Calif.(KABC)-- Irwindale's former finance director pleaded no contest Monday to conflict of interest for his role in spending money on lavish trips to New York City, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced.
The judge ordered 69-year-old Abe De Dios to pay about $5,300 in restitution to the city, plus more than $4,000 in fines. He was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service with Habitat for Humanity, which he has already performed.
A one-year jail sentence was suspended if he stays out of trouble while serving three years probation. Under his plea deal, De Dios was also banned from ever running for elected office.
De Dios had been charged with 15 felony counts -- five counts each of misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement by a public or private officer and conflict of interest -- but pleaded to the single misdemeanor conflict-of- interest charge. All of the other counts were dropped.
Arraignment is pending for three co-defendents: Irwindale Mayor Mark Breceda, City Councilman Manuel Garcia and former City Councilwoman Rosemary Ramirez.
Deputy District Attorney Kennes Ma said De Dios traveled with the three other Irwindale officials to New York between 2001 and 2005, ostensibly to get a better bond rating for the city. Although De Dios never received reimbursement for the trips, he was charged with conflict of interest because he admitted that he was afraid of losing his job if he didn't reimburse the council members.
Prosecutors allege the officials attended Broadway shows -- including "Aida," "The Producers," "Phantom of the Opera" and "Mamma Mia" -- and Yankees and Mets baseball games, outings that had nothing to do with city business
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