Thursday, September 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Last ex-city official sentenced in corruption case

By
From page A4 | August 02, 2014 |

LOS ANGELES — The last of seven former city officials involved in a multimillion-dollar corruption case in the tiny Los Angeles suburb of Bell, California, was sentenced Friday to a year in jail, most of which he has already served.

The sentencing of former Councilman Victor Bello marked the end of the largest corruption case in Los Angeles history, according to prosecutors who spent four years taking it through the courts.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy, who presided over the Bell trials, acknowledged that Bello was less culpable than other defendants, who were arrested in 2010 after it was discovered they were illegally diverting millions of taxpayer dollars to pay themselves huge salaries, a scheme that nearly bankrupted the blue-collar city.

Prosecutors said the scam cost Bell more than $5.5 million and drove a city where more than a quarter of the residents live below the federal poverty line to the brink of bankruptcy.

Bello was sentenced to one year in county jail but was given credit for 340 days of time served while awaiting trial. He was placed on five years of probation, ordered to do 500 hours of community service and must pay restitution of $177,600.

A prosecutor who argued for a four-year prison term said he was glad the case was over.

“Hopefully now the people of Bell can move forward and begin to heal,” Deputy District Attorney Sean Hassett said outside court. But he expressed disappointment that Bello did not get the maximum four-year sentence agreed upon when the defendants entered no-contest pleas.

None of the five former council members were hit with the top sentence. All received some prison time, except for one councilman, who received 180 days of home confinement with an ankle monitor.

All were ordered to pay six figure restitution amounts to the city, but whether they would be able to comply with that was uncertain. Bello’s lawyer said he is indigent. Former Mayor Oscar Hernandez is living in a trailer, and prosecutors said they would try to seize property he owns.

The judge said she hopes Bello can make restitution, but “the people have not demonstrated that he has some vast amount of money that he’s squirrelled away.”

Bello’s attorney, Leo Moriarty, said his client is on disability due to a significant depression and other psychological problems which render him “unemployable.” He said Bello was on suicide watch during his entire time in jail.

The judge ordered the 56-year-old Bello to seek schooling and employment.

In a sentencing memorandum, Moriarty offered a letter from a Bell police sergeant who helped expose the financial scandal. “The person who assisted me relentlessly and courageously was Victor Bello,” the sergeant said.

But Hassett, the prosecutor, noted that Bello, who earned $434 a month as a councilman in 1998, was receiving $100,000 a year when he resigned.

In her remarks from the bench, the judge placed heavy blame on former City Manager Robert Rizzo and his assistant, Angela Spaccia, calling them “the architects” of the financial scam. Rizzo is serving 12 years in prison and was ordered to pay $8.8 million restitution. Spaccia is serving a sentence of 11 years and eight months and must pay $8.2 million restitution to the city.

Others under sentence are Vice Mayor Teresa Jacobo and former council members George Mirabal, Cole and Hernandez, convicted of stealing nearly $1 million.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • rlw895August 02, 2014 - 10:27 am

    The system works.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DanielAugust 02, 2014 - 1:22 pm

    The lame stream conveniently didn't mention what party he belonged to its obvious he's yet another of the enormous list and amount of corrupt Demos including those toting at the head.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Theatre DeVille in Vacaville closes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
Focus on school attendance now, always

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Lunafest returns to Fairfield in November

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Pepperbelly’s for sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 3 Comments

 
Jury selection begins in 2011 Fairfield murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Seniors get help at Kroc Center health fair

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Drug court success stories tell their tales

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Suisun City Senior Center seeks holiday donations

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Weather for Sept. 18, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Emotions mount on final day of Scottish campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Maps provide early warning of California fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

More than 2,000 homes threatened in California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
NASA’s Maven spacecraft reaches Mars this weekend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US military role in Iraq raises combat questions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Police: Ambush suspect was military re-enactor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

House grudgingly approves arms for Syrian rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
Ex-VA doctor: Phoenix report a ‘whitewash’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

School district police stock up free military gear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Doctor says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

US scientist: Ebola unlikely to become airborne

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Liberia president praises US for Ebola help pledge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
AP Interview: Iraq premier says no foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Opinion

 
Give new crime report a chance

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 16 Comments

 
Homeless find welcome in Vallejo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 7 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My brother fails to make an effort to when it comes to my kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
U2 returns to iTunes Top 100 — 26 times

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

Directors Guild finds TV diversity hiring stalled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

Rodriguez gets 1st MEL soccer win since return to league

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Giants snap tie in 9th, beat Arizona to narrow gap in West to 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers’ Kaepernick fined for inappropriate language

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 4 Comments | Gallery

Barry Bonds appeal heads back to court

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL, union agree to new drug policy, HGH testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders rookie Derek Carr focuses on job at hand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Pegulas’ bid to buy Bills OK’d by NFL committee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

FSU benches Winston for 1st half of Clemson game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Umpire West suspended 1 game for grabbing jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

After making ‘mistake,’ Vikings bench RB Peterson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sharks sign D Braun to 5-year, $19 M extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rockets acquire Jason Terry, picks from Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers remove DE Greg Hardy from active roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Fed signals plan to keep key rate at record low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Brown signs ride-sharing insurance legislation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

US homebuilder confidence soars in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Anthem, hospitals join to offer new insurance plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Drag queens dress down Facebook over names

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
Wells Fargo pays $290,000 in sex harassment case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9