April 3, 2001
FORMER LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCILMAN RICHARD ALATORRE
CHARGED WITH TAX EVASION FOR FAILING TO REPORT BRIBES;
DEFENDANT AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY TO FELONY OFFENSE
Richard J. Alatorre has agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal
charge of felony tax evasion, admitting that he failed to report to the
Internal Revenue Service nearly $42,000 in cash he received from individuals
attempting to influence Alatorre in his official duties.
In a plea agreement filed this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Alatorre agrees to plead guilty to one count of willfully evading the payment of federal income tax for the 1996 tax year. Alatorre is expected to be arraigned on the charge on Monday, April 9.
In the plea agreement, Alatorre, 57, acknowledges accepting approximately $41,840 in cash payments in 1996 from "third-party sources" who sought to influence Alatorre in his official capacity as a member of the Los Angeles City Council and a board member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Alatorre also admits in the plea agreement that he failed to disclose the cash payments on his 1996 California Statement of Economic Interest, which he filed with the City Ethics Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. By failing to disclose the payments, Alatorre deprived the citizens of the City of Los Angeles their right to his honest services. By admitting that he received more than $10,000 in income from criminal activity in 1996, Alatorre acknowledges corrupt activity, according to Assistant United States Attorney Alicia Villarreal.
In order to cover up the payments, Alatorre used an intermediary to accept checks from the third parties. The intermediary cashed the checks and delivered the cash to Alatorre.
As a result of Alatorre failing to report the payments, he evaded the payment of at least $12,970 in federal income tax. In addition to pleading guilty, Alatorre has agreed to file an amended 1996 federal income tax return and to pay any penalties and interest assessed by the Internal Revenue Service.
The tax evasion charge carries a potential penalty of three years in federal prison, but the government and the defendant agree that the appropriate sentence in this case is three years of probation – which will include eight months of home detention with electronic monitoring – to be followed by three years of supervised release. If the United States District Judge who will hear the case against Alatorre decides to impose a different sentence, either party may withdraw from the plea agreement.
Under the plea agreement, the Justice Department agrees not to file additional charges against Alatorre or his wife, Angie Alatorre, for any criminal conduct known at this time. The United States Attorney's Office specifically agrees not to charge Alatorre or his wife "with offenses arising out of the accepting or soliciting of the payment of bribes, deprivation of honest services mail fraud, bank fraud, and tax fraud."
Alatorre is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday, April 9, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 1439 of the Roybal Federal Building, 255 East Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles. At the hearing, the case will be assigned to a United States District Judge, who will likely schedule a hearing on the same day to discuss the guilty plea.
This case is the result of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Office of Inspector General.
Release No. 01-062
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