Fed adds charges of bribery, money laundering against Huizar

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, who was arrested last month under an ongoing pay-to-play investigation and now faces additional charges including bribery and money laundering, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

The new charges included a 34-count grand jury indictment that expanded on earlier allegations that Huizar had led a criminal enterprise that leveraged his power at City Hall for financial gain, which Real The estate used to hand over cash, free flights to developers, bribes to casinos. Chips and other perks.

The 113-page indictment also claimed that others conspired with Haizar in the scheme, including a former deputy mayor who previously headed the Department of Building and Security. Federal prosecutors allege that Huizar agreed to accept at least $ 1.5 million in illegal financial benefits.

He is the fifth person to be charged in the ongoing investigation, which has given pure arguments from former Huizar aide George Esparza, real estate consultant George Chiang, political fundraiser Justin Zangwu Kim and former counselor Michelle England.

The indictment alleged that Huizar covered illegal money in several ways, including guiding his accomplice on using robberies of hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to avoid bank reporting requirements and to use family members Tried to do. It is also alleged that he made false statements to federal prosecutors and the FBI.

The 51-year-old Huizar is scheduled to be assigned on Monday. Lawyers for the councilman previously stated that Huizar “intends to answer the government’s allegations in court.” He is now being represented by lawyers from the federal public guard’s office, one of whom declined to comment on Thursday.

Several allegations in the indictment surfaced last month in a criminal complaint against the councilor, in which a Chinese billionaire planned a new skyscraper in his city’s district to raise $ 600,000 to help calm Haizar Used to provide funds. .

But the document gives additional details about the alleged crimes. For instance, the criminal complaint alleges that a businessman who wanted Huizar to introduce him to developers, who paid for gifts, including expensive suits, food and hotels, to meet with the woman Lives with whom he had an affair.

The indictment would, in turn, produce an itemized list of those alleged gifts with dates and dollar amounts, such as “suits and shirts” valued at $ 6,000 on June 13, 2016, and “hotel accommodations” valued at $ 1,513.49 on June 19, 2017 is.

In another instance, a criminal complaint filed in June alleged that a real estate developer made political donations as part of a bribe scheme to win approval for the Arts District project. The indictment adds another charge: An executive at that development company talked to Huizar about hiring a counselor after he stepped down.

Federal prosecutors have not named the former deputy mayor allegedly involved in the criminal enterprise, but the biographical details included in the indictment and criminal complaint make it clear that it is Raymond Chan, not arrested or publicly charged in the case is.

His lawyer, Harland Braun, did not immediately comment on Thursday, but has previously said that Chan did nothing wrong.

According to a statement released by the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, Haizar’s charges face the maximum sentence that can drag for decades. Money laundering, for example, can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, while a financial institution may face a maximum sentence of 30 years for making a false statement.

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