Examples of Public Corruption Investigations - Fiscal Year 2017
The following examples of Public Corruption Investigations are written from public record documents on file in the courts within the judicial district where the cases were prosecuted.
Former Congressman Chaka Fattah Sentenced for Role in Racketeering Conspiracy
On Dec. 12, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pa., former Congressman Chaka Fattah Sr., of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay $600,000 in restitution and to forfeit $14,500 for participating in racketeering, bribery, wire fraud, honest services fraud and money laundering conspiracies, and for bribery, mail fraud and money laundering. Also on Dec. 12, co-defendant Herbert Vederman was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. Co-defendants Robert Brand and Karen Nicholas were sentenced on Dec. 13, 2016 to 30 months and 24 months in prison, respectively, as well as three years and two years of supervised release, respectively. In addition, Brand was ordered to pay $600,000 in restitution and Nicholas was ordered to pay $650,000 in restitution. On Dec. 14, 2016, co-defendant Bonnie Bowser was sentenced to three years of probation for her role in the conspiracy. Fattah and associates borrowed $1 million from a wealthy supporter for his failed 2007 campaign for mayor of Philadelphia, and disguised the funds as a loan to a consulting company. To conceal the contribution and repayment scheme, Fattah, his co-conspirators, and others created sham contracts and made false entries in accounting records, tax returns and campaign finance disclosure statements. After losing a campaign, Fattah sought to eliminate about $130,000 in campaign debt owed to a political consultant by agreeing to arrange for the award of federal grant funds to the consultant. In exchange for Fattah’s efforts to arrange the award, the consultant agreed to forgive the campaign debt. In addition, between 2007 and 2011, Fattah arranged for his campaigns to make payments to a political consulting company in order to repay part of his son’s student loan debt. Beginning in 2008, Fattah communicated with individuals in the legislative and executive branches in an effort to secure for co-defendant Herbert Vederman an ambassadorship or an appointment to the U.S. Trade Commission. In exchange, Vederman provided money and other items of value to Fattah.
Former State Senator Ronald Calderon Sentenced for Receiving Over $150,000 in Bribes
On October 21, 2016, in Los Angeles, Calif., former California State Senator Ronald S. Calderon, of Montebello, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and ordered to serve 150 hours of community service. Calderon admitted accepting bribe payments from the owner of a Long Beach hospital who wanted a law to remain in effect so he could continue to reap tens of millions of dollars in illicit profits from a health care fraud scheme. Calderon also admitted taking bribes from undercover FBI agents who were posing as independent filmmakers who wanted changes to California’s Film Tax Credit program. Calderon’s brother, Thomas M. Calderon, also of Montebello, a former member of the California State Assembly who became a political consultant, was sentenced in September 2016 to 10 months in prison for money laundering by allowing bribe money earmarked for his brother to be funneled through his company.
Former Chief of Los Angeles Port Police Sentenced for False Statement and Tax Evasion Charges Related to Corruption Case
On October 11, 2016, in Los Angeles, Calif., Ronald Jerome Boyd was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $305,054 in restitution. Boyd admitted to lying to federal investigators about a scheme related to a smart phone app called Portwatch, which was developed to provide information to the public and to allow citizens to report criminal activity at the port. In 2011, Boyd and two business partners formed BDB Digital Communications, a company that entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with the company developing Portwatch. The parties involved with BDB intended to generate revenues by marketing and selling a similar app – called Metrowatch – to other government agencies. Boyd was set to receive approximately 13.33 percent of all gross revenues generated by the sale of the Metrowatch application. Boyd also pleaded guilty to tax evasion in relation to his personal income tax return for 2011. Boyd admitted receiving income from a security business he operated, At Close Range. The income came from the owner of a company doing business with the Port, American Guard Services, and Boyd admitted that he failed to report that income on his personal income tax returns for years 2007 through 2011. Additionally, Boyd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of failing to file a 2011 tax return for At Close Range.