Ex-Los Angeles Councilman Who Accepted Casino Bribes Sentenced

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Posted on: January 28, 2024, 05:15h. 

Last updated on: January 29, 2024, 11:45h.

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A erstwhile Los Angeles City Councilmember who pleaded blameworthy a twelvemonth agone this month to taxation evasion and conspiracy to break nan Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act has been sentenced.

Los Angeles Jose Huizar casino briberyJose Huizar speaks astatine a 2018 news conference. Huizar, a erstwhile Los Angeles City Councilmember, will walk nan adjacent 13 years successful national situation for accepting bribes and lavish casino trips to Las Vegas. (Image: Los Angeles Times)

On Friday, U.S. Judge John Walter successful nan Central District of California sentenced José Luis Huizar, 55, of Boyle Heights, to 13 years successful national prison. The disgraced leader must besides salary $443,905 successful restitution to nan City of Los Angeles and $38,792 to nan IRS.

No 1 is supra nan law,” said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada. “Today’s condemnation shows that moreover a powerful elected charismatic for illustration Huizar will beryllium held accountable for engaging successful criminal misconduct. Huizar was elected to service nan interests of nan hard-working group of Los Angeles, but he alternatively served his ain individual interests successful a long-running, pay-to-play bribery scheme. Our organization deserves better.”

Huizar represented Council District 14 from December 2006 done August 2020, erstwhile national prosecutors brought charges against him. CD-14 includes nan Los Angeles neighborhoods of Downtown, Boyle Heights, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, El Sereno, Garvanza, Lincoln Heights, and Monterey Hills.

Bribery Scheme Included Las Vegas Trips

Federal prosecutors alleged and proved successful tribunal that a Chinese billionaire bribed Huizar. The mogul was trying to unafraid metropolis approvals to build what would person been nan tallest building westbound of nan Mississippi successful downtown Los Angeles. U.S. attorneys said Huang Wei and his Shenzhen New World Group bribed Huizar pinch rate and gifts totaling astir $2 cardinal to triumph complete metropolis councilors into approving nan arguable project.

The U.S. attorney’s agency for nan Central District of California said Huang took Huizar connected respective lavish trips to Las Vegas, wherever ample sums of rate were laundered done Strip casinos, including the Cosmopolitan. Huang reportedly arranged prostitutes for Huizar and flew him to and from Sin City connected his backstage jet.

“The benefits ranged from rate bribes, casino gambling chips, adultery services, governmental contributions, flights connected backstage jets and commercialized airlines, stays astatine luxury hotels and casinos, costly meals, tickets to concerts and sporting events, and different things of value. In speech for these benefits, Huizar utilized his nationalist agency positions to return charismatic acts and springiness favorable curen towards nan projects of nan paying existent property developers,” nan U.S. authorities said successful a connection connected nan prosecution.

To support his assembly spot successful 2013 amid a intersexual harassment lawsuit, national authorities opportunity Huizar turned to Huang to thief him salary for his settlement. Prosecutors declare Huang surreptitiously routed $600K to Huizar done a overseas ammunition institution that nan councilmember utilized to salary disconnected his accuser.

Huang Remains connected nan Run

Seven different individuals pleaded blameworthy aliases were recovered blameworthy of participating successful nan bribery scheme. The charges included honorable services ligament fraud, bribery, falsification of records, obstructing justice, making mendacious statements, and racketeering.

The Department of Justice says Huang remains a fugitive and has yet to look successful court. He has been charged pinch respective felonies and is “believed to beryllium successful China.”

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