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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index
    Release No. 10-136

    September 28, 2010

    EX-MAYOR OF LYNWOOD RE-SENTENCED TO NEARLY 16 YEARS IN PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING RESIDENTS IN CORRUPTION CASE

    LOS ANGELES – Paul H. Richards II, the former mayor of Lynwood, California, was re-sentenced today to 188 months in federal prison, which is one of the longest sentences ever issued in a federal political corruption case.

    Richards, 54, who was originally sentenced in 2006, was convicted of a host of federal corruption charges, including “honest services” fraud charges, related to a scheme that defrauded city residents by funneling city business, including exorbitant no-bid contracts, to a “consulting company” controlled by him and his family (see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2006/032.html).

    United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner today rejected Richards’ bid to be released from custody. Judge Klausner upheld most of the charges that Richards was convicted of in 2005 and imposed the same sentence he issued in 2006.

    After being sentenced, Richards appealed the case to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which initially affirmed his convictions and sentence. However, in the wake of this summer’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court in Skilling v. United States, Richards founds new grounds for his appeal. In Skilling, the Supreme Court limited the scope of the“honest services” fraud statute to schemes involving kickbacks and bribery. After the ruling in Skilling, the 9th Circuit remanded Richards’ case to Judge Klausner  for reconsideration.

    In his rulings today, Judge Klausner held that Richards was properly found guilty of a bribery or kickback scheme to deprive Lynwood of its right to his honest services, and to cause the City of Lynwood to suffer losses of more than $2.5 million. In addition to upholding the honest services fraud convictions, Judge Klausner also held that Richards was properly convicted of mail fraud to deprive Lynwood of money or property, extortion, money laundering, and making false statements to the government. Judge Klausner dismissed several honest services fraud counts that the government conceded were invalid after Skilling, but these dismissals did not affect Richards’ sentence.

    Judge Klausner today also denied Richards’ bid to be released on bond while he again asks the 9th Circuit to review his case. In denying bond, Judge Klausner found that Richards posed a flight risk and a danger to the community, and that Richards was unlikely to succeed in a second appeal.

    Judge Klausner today also re-sentenced Richards’ sister, Paula Cameo Harris, to six years in prison. A third defendant in the case, Bevan Atlee Thomas, lost his motion to vacate his judgment today and will continue serving a 10-year prison sentence.

    This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS – Criminal Investigation Division.

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    Release No. 10-136

    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index