Thursday, March 30, 2017

Orange County Superior Court clerk took bribes for 5 years to fix thousands of cases, including DUIs, traffic cases, and criminal cases... was paid about a total of 1/4 million dollars

Former Orange County Superior Court clerk plead guilty Wednesday to reaping more than a quarter-million dollars as head of a bribery scheme that forged the results of criminal and traffic violations in exchange for money.

Anaheim resident Juan Lopez admitted in a plea deal last week that from 2010 until 2015, he used his court computer system access to write fraudulent outcomes for more than 1,000 cases, including 69 misdemeanor driving under the influence cases and hundreds of traffic-related violations.

Lopez was paid by nine middlemen to fix court records to show a favorable result for the persons charged, when in fact, the cases were never ruled upon, prosecutors said.

DUI cases drew the highest prices, as Lopez asked as much as $8,000 to fix those results, according to the indictment.

Records also show he used the ill-gotten gains in 2015 to open a Mexican restaurant in Garden Grove.

The scheme ended in 2015 when O.C. Superior Court officials began to suspect Lopez of case tampering.

He gets sentenced Sept 22nd

Lopez is one of 13 co-defendants under indictment for violating the RICO Act

 Federal agents also arrested 10 of Lopez’s 11 alleged “recruiters,” people who worked outside of the courthouse who went to car and truck clubs, and to Craigslist, to spread the word that, for a fee, tickets processed in Orange County Superior Court could be tweaked in the driver’s favor.

Ten others have pleaded guilty so far. An eleventh is scheduled to plead guilty on April 21, and Javed Asefi, 44, of Ladera Ranch is scheduled to go on trial on May 2, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

People who paid the bribes – many non-English speakers from countries where ticket fixing sometimes involves bureaucrats or police (read this to mean illegal aliens with drivers licenses, see the previous post) – were solicited directly by Lopez or by a recruiter.

The FBI probe was kicked off after a courtroom employee noticed a single document was missing; the file contained the clerk’s employee ID. Soon, other DUIs and other traffic cases tied to Lopez were inspected.

No comments:

Post a Comment