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Former L.A. City Councilman Sentenced to Prison for Corruption Charges

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar has been sentenced to 13 years in federal prison on corruption charges. The 55-year-old pleaded guilty last year to accepting $1.5 million in bribes from developers and evading taxes. The sentence, on the high end of what was expected, was part of Huizar's plea deal. In addition to his prison sentence, Huizar must pay restitution to the city of L.A. and the IRS.


The Pay-for-Play Scheme

Prosecutors unveiled a shocking pay-for-play scheme that spanned from 2013 to 2017. Huizar was accused of accepting various forms of bribes, including cash, casino gambling chips, luxury stays in Las Vegas, expensive meals, prostitution services, political contributions, and funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. This scandalous case highlighted one of the most audacious public corruption cases in Los Angeles' history.

Huizar's brother, Salvador Huizar, and eight other associates were also convicted or pleaded guilty in connection to the corruption scheme. Salvador Huizar is set to be sentenced on August 2. Among the associates, Bel Air developer Dae Yong Lee, also known as David Lee, was sentenced to six years in federal prison for bribing Huizar. Lee's company, 940 Hill LLC, was fined $1.5 million and placed on probation for five years.

Other Indicted Individuals

The corruption indictment did not stop with Jose Huizar and his associates. The case also involved several other individuals, including Chinese billionaire Wei Huang. Huang, a real estate developer, is charged with several felonies and is currently a fugitive believed to be in China. Huang's company, Shen Zhen New World I LLC, was convicted of paying over $1 million in bribes to Huizar. The company was sentenced to five years of probation and fined $4 million.

Former L.A. Deputy Mayor Raymond She Wah Chan, who has pleaded not guilty, is another defendant in the case. Chan faces charges of conspiracy, bribery, fraud, and lying to federal agents. His retrial is scheduled to begin on March 12.

Other defendants in related cases include political fundraiser Justin Jangwoo Kim, lobbyist Morris Roland Goldman, real estate development consultant George Chiang, and Huizar's former special assistant, George Esparza. Each of them has pleaded guilty to various charges and is awaiting sentencing.

Restitution and Surrender

As part of his sentence, Huizar is required to pay nearly $444,000 in restitution to the city of L.A. and $39,000 to the IRS. Failure to comply with these payments could result in additional penalties. Huizar must surrender to authorities by April 30 to begin his 13-year prison term.

The Impact on Huizar's Constituents

Throughout the investigation and trial, it became evident that Huizar had neglected the needs of his constituents. Instead of serving their interests, he prioritized personal gain by accepting bribes and luxury perks from wealthy real estate moguls. The FBI hopes that this case will encourage citizens to come forward when they suspect corrupt practices and foreign influence.

The sentencing of former L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar to 13 years in federal prison for corruption charges has sent shockwaves through the city. The pay-for-play scheme, which involved accepting bribes and evading taxes, lasted from 2013 to 2017. Huizar's guilty plea and subsequent sentencing shed light on one of the most audacious public corruption cases in Los Angeles' history. As the investigation continues and more individuals face charges, it is clear that the consequences of this scandal will have a lasting impact on the city and its residents.

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