Former Chief of Los Angeles Port Police Pleads Guilty to False Statement and Tax Evasion Charges Related to Corruption Case
LOS ANGELES – The former chief of police for the Port of Los Angeles pleaded guilty today to federal charges of tax evasion and making false statements to FBI agents who were investigating his acceptance of a bribe in connection with the development of a social networking program that would become the official smartphone app for the Port and would then be marketed to other law enforcement agencies.
Ronald Jerome Boyd, 58, of Torrance, pleaded guilty this afternoon to three offenses and as a result faces a statutory maximum prison term of 11 years in federal prison.
Boyd pleaded guilty before United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner on the day he was scheduled to go to trial on a 16-count indictment that was returned by a grand jury last year.
Boyd pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about a scheme related to a smartphone app called Portwatch, which was developed to provide information to the public and to allow citizens to report criminal activity at the port.
In 2011, Boyd and two business partners formed BDB Digital Communications, a company that entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with the company developing Portwatch. The parties involved with BDB intended to generate revenues by marketing and selling a similar app – called Metrowatch – to other government agencies. Boyd was set to receive approximately 13.33 percent of all gross revenues generated by the sale of the Metrowatch application.
According to the indictment in this case, Boyd received his financial interest in return for guaranteeing that the Portwatch contract would be awarded to the company. Prosecutors and the defense have agreed to submit evidence regarding the bribery arrangement to Judge Klausner at sentencing.
Boyd pleaded guilty today to making false statements to special agents with the FBI during an interview in October 2014. Boyd admitted that he lied to the investigators when he denied having any financial interest in Metrowatch or having engaged in a conflict of interest.
“Public officials who use their position of leadership for unlawful personal gain erode the public’s trust in government,” said David Bowdich, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Law enforcement officials at all levels have an obligation to uphold the law and remain loyal to the citizens they swore to serve.”
Boyd also pleaded guilty to tax evasion in relation to his personal income tax return for 2011. In his plea agreement, Boyd admitted receiving income from a security business he operated, At Close Range. The income came from the owner of a company doing business with the Port, American Guard Services, and Boyd admitted that he failed to report that income on his personal income tax returns for years 2007 through 2011.
Additionally, Boyd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of failing to file a 2011 tax return for At Close Range. While he pleaded guilty to one only count of failing to file a tax return for At Close Range, Boyd admitted in his plea agreement that he failed to file tax returns for the business for years 2007 through 2011.
The estimated loss of tax revenue to the Internal Revenue Service for Boyd’s conduct was more than $300,000.
“Our largest enforcement program is directed at the portion of American taxpayers who willfully and intentionally violate their known legal duty of filing and paying their fair share of taxes,” said IRS Criminal Investigation’s Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez.
Judge Klausner scheduled a sentenced hearing for July 25.
The case against Boyd is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS – Criminal Investigation.