Public officials are often placed under a great deal of scrutiny. When a public figure is accused of using his or her position for personal benefit, the outcome can be catastrophic. Besides the possibility of a criminal conviction, the official's career and reputation are also on the line. Charges of public corruption require a thorough defense. This is likely the case for one former county official here in California, who recently pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to public corruption.
The former official, who worked in Los Angeles County's Internal Services Department, was charged with accepting bribes and subscribing to a false 2016 tax return where he did not report his full income. Authorities claim that the official accepted bribes from an electrical contractor to approve change orders for work that did not take place. The official admits that the contractor did not do work that followed safety standards and that he looked the other way because of the financial incentive.
Law enforcement says that the official created an LLC to hide the bribes he received, which included cash, checks and gifts. He even allegedly filed fake tax forms to keep more of what he received. The federal investigation has not concluded, and both the official and the contractor involved have agreed to cooperate with any investigative efforts going forward as part of plea agreements.
No matter the outcome of this particular case, it is easy to see why public officials need comprehensive legal representation when accused of public corruption. The potential consequences are severe, with the possibility of jail time, fines or other punishment, not to mention the irreparable damage to the official's reputation and future career. Anyone here in California who is facing similar allegations may want to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can review all available options.