Orange County Sheriff Carona indicted in federal corruption probe

first_imgSANTA ANA – Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona has been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from an investigation into allegations that he misused his office for financial gain. The indictment, filed under seal, could be made public as early as today. A one-time Carona friend, former Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo has pleaded guilty in the case, admitting he had collected cash and gifts worth about $45,000 and filed false income tax returns concealing the income. As part of the plea agreement, Jaramillo is cooperating with prosecutors in the Carona investigation. An indictment would mark a spectacular fall for the 52-year-old sheriff, who only five years ago was seen as a rising star in California Republican politics. Since then, there have been attacks on his character and calls for his resignation, but he was narrowly reelected to a third term in 2006. The full scope of the federal investigation remains unknown, but one apparent focus is a scheme outlined in Jaramillo’s plea agreement. The 30-page plea agreement describes Jaramillo’s involvement with individuals identified as “M.C.” and “D.H.” Corrado said the initials stand for Carona and former Assistant Sheriff Donald Haidl. The agreement says that beginning in late 1998 or early 1999, Haidl arranged for Jaramillo and Carona to be appointed to the boards of directors of several companies that paid them compensation or honoraria. In the plea, Jaramillo conceded receiving $7,000 from Charity Funding Services, a firm owned by Haidl’s uncle. The plea agreement says Carona also received monthly payments from the company and cash from Haidl. Asked how the rank-and-file was taking the news of Carona’s indictment, Lt. Larry Abbott, a Sheriff Department watch commander, said that “somebody sent me that story and my initial reaction was, `wow.’ I don’t know the validity of the story because I don’t know the boss personally, so I can’t really comment.” Abbott added: “There are a half dozen call takers here and there’s really no reaction. Everyone’s curious of course, but none of us really have interaction with the boss that much. He was up here for the fires. But we don’t have much information and so it’s a totally wait-and-see attitude. We just need to wait to hear all the details and his reaction.” For the latest news and observations on crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“He has cooperated in the past, has cooperated while in jail and will continue to cooperate in the future,” Jaramillo’s attorney, Robert Z. Corrado said. Jaramillo is serving a 12-month sentence on state charges in a pay-to- stay facility in Montebello and is expected to be released next month. Federal investigators “were asking questions about Carona’s activities since he was elected sheriff,” Corrado said. Investigators asked Jaramillo specifically about “gifts and monies” Carona had received. Jaramillo and federal prosecutors reached the plea agreement months ago, but it was sealed while investigators continued to pursue the case against Carona and is expected to be made public at an arraignment today. Carona’s longtime political advisor and attorney, Michael Schroeder, said that federal authorities had not questioned the sheriff or officially informed him he was a target of an investigation. The sheriff did not respond to a request for an interview. last_img

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