Former Mayor of Cudahy Sentenced to Federal Prison for Taking Bribes from ‘Medical Marijuana’ Businessman
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 28, 2013|
LOS ANGELES—The former mayor of the city of Cudahy was sentenced this afternoon to one year in federal prison for taking cash bribes in exchange for supporting the opening of a “medical marijuana” store in the city.
David Silva, 62, the then-mayor of Cudahy and an elected member of the city council, was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison by United States District Judge Manuel Real.
“Mr. Silva sold the integrity and authority of the mayor’s office for his own personal gain,” said United States Attorney André Birotte, Jr. “Elected officials are expected to obey the law. When they don’t, those officials should expect to go to prison.”
Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Office, stated, “Today’s sentencing serves as evidence that corrupt practices by public officials who use their power to get rich quick and abuse the trust of their constituents will not be tolerated. The FBI will continue to investigate alleged corrupt offenders and work toward restoring reliable services to the citizens they’re expected to serve.”
Angel Perales, 44, who ran the Code Enforcement Division of the Cudahy Community Services Department and who was involved in the bribery scheme, was sentenced by Judge Real two weeks ago to probation.
A third person who took bribes from an FBI informant—Osvaldo Conde, 51, who was a member of the Cudahy City Council and who accepted two separate bribe payments—is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Real on February 25.
According to an affidavit filed in this case: “On the afternoon of February 28, 2012, following weeks of bribe solicitations and related discussions, made during recorded meetings and telephone calls, Conde, Silva, and Perales met an FBI confidential informant at the El Potrero nightclub in Cudahy, California. The three Cudahy city officials accepted a total of $15,000 cash as bribe payments. Later that evening, Conde met the confidential informant to receive an additional $2,000 cash as a bribe.”
The 143-page affidavit describes an investigation in which federal law enforcement agents recorded a number of conversations in which the Cudahy city officials explain that the Cudahy City Council planned to approve only one or two permits for marijuana stores in Cudahy. According to the affidavit, Perales sought to broker an arrangement between an FBI informant and city officials in which the informant would make cash payments in exchange for the officials supporting a request for one of the permits.
Prior to a meeting with Conde and Silva at a Pico Rivera restaurant, Perales instructed the informant how he should broach the topic of paying the bribes and later instructed the informant on how to present the bribes, specifying that the payments should be in cash only, according to the affidavit.
“A government official’s use of political power for illegitimate personal financial gain undermines public confidence in government generally and fosters a belief that those elected to govern—and privileged to serve—are above the law,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo filed in Silva’s case. “This is particularly true when an abuse of power is committed a high-ranking public official such as defendant.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.