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Press Release

Former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Found Guilty of Racketeering Conspiracy that Corrupted City Real Estate Development Projects

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

LOS ANGELES – A former deputy mayor and long-time Los Angeles city official was found guilty by a jury today of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribe money and facilitating illicit payoffs from property developers to then-Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar as part of a long-running conspiracy that corrupted the approval of city real estate projects.

Raymond She Wah Chan, 67, of Monterey Park, was found guilty of all 12 felony counts he faced: one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, seven counts of honest services wire fraud, three counts of bribery, and one count of making false statements to a federal government agency.

“Chan used his leadership position in City Hall to favor corrupt individuals and companies willing to play dirty,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “The residents of Los Angeles deserve much better. With today’s verdict, we send a strong message that the public will not stand for corruption and that pay-to-play politics has no place in our community.” 

“Mr. Chan made decisions to enrich himself and his corrupt colleagues instead of advancing projects to benefit the residents of Los Angeles, and then lied about it when confronted with the facts,” said Mehtab Syed, the Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The ‘Casino Loyale’ investigation has shined a light on the city of Los Angeles, and the FBI will continue to weed out corruption to ensure local government operates honestly to improve the lives of Angelenos.” 

Chan formerly was the general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) and, later, served as the city’s deputy mayor of economic development from 2016 to 2017.

Huizar, 55, of Boyle Heights, represented Council District 14 (CD-14) on the Los Angeles City Council from December 2005 until his resignation in October 2020. CD-14 encompassed downtown Los Angeles and some of its surrounding areas. During his years on the City Council, Huizar chaired the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee, which oversaw all major commercial and residential development projects in the city.

Huizar was sentenced on January 26 to 13 years in federal prison and also was ordered to pay $443,905 in restitution to the City of Los Angeles and $38,792 in restitution to the IRS. He pleaded guilty in January 2023 to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of tax evasion.

According to evidence presented at a 12-day trial, Chan and Huizar operated the “CD-14 Enterprise,” a criminal conspiracy that tainted the city approval of real estate projects in the downtown area. Huizar led the enterprise from at least February 2013 until July 2020 and Chan played a key role in ensuring the enterprise’s success during that period.

As part of the conspiracy, while he was the general manager of LADBS and a deputy mayor, Chan established a secret business partnership with real estate development consultant George Chiang, securing a lucrative real estate consulting agreement with Chinese real estate developer Shenzhen Hazens. As part of that agreement, Chan agreed to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to advise and pressure city officials in favor of Hazens’ Luxe Hotel redevelopment project. 

To maintain the conspiracy’s political power, Chan also facilitated a $100,000 campaign contribution commitment from Hazens in support of Huizar’s wife’s candidacy for the CD-14 seat in exchange for Huizar’s votes to approve the project. A central goal of the enterprise was the succession plan of Huizar’s wife taking over Huizar’s council seat so that Huizar would still have control over downtown through his wife.

Hazens’ U.S. subsidiary, Jia Yuan USA Co. Inc., which was seeking to redevelop the Los Angeles Luxe City Center Hotel, has paid $1.05 million to resolve the government’s investigation into its conduct related to this case, which included bribery and illegal campaign contributions.

Chan also facilitated payment of more than $1 million in bribes to Huizar from billionaire developer Wei Huang, 58, a resident of Shenzhen, China, including $600,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit and luxury-laden gambling trips. At the time he provided these bribes, Huang’s company, Shen Zhen New World I LLC, was planning to redevelop the L.A. Grand Hotel into the tallest tower west of the Mississippi, which would require city approvals and Huizar’s help.

At Huizar’s and Chan’s request – and after Huizar had helped save Chan’s city position by helping to prevent a planned merger that would have eliminated Chan’s department – Huang paid $600,000 to fund a settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Huizar by a former CD-14 staffer that threatened his 2015 re-election campaign and thus the enterprise’s political power base. Chan also lied to FBI agents in November 2018 about his involvement in facilitating and structuring the $600,000 settlement, that Huang had no real estate projects needing Huizar’s political support, and that Huang had never asked Huizar for any help with his properties.

Huang, who is charged with several felonies, has yet to make a court appearance in this case and is considered a fugitive believed to be in China.  

Following today’s guilty verdicts, United States District Judge John F. Walter scheduled a June 10 sentencing hearing, at which time Chan will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each count of racketeering conspiracy and honest services wire fraud, up to 10 years in federal prison for each bribery count, and up to five years in federal prison for the false statements count.

Previously, in June 2022, real estate developer Dae Yong Lee, a.k.a. “David Lee,” 59, of Bel Air, and one of his companies, 940 Hill LLC, were convicted of providing $500,000 in cash to Huizar and Esparza in exchange for their help in resolving a labor organization’s appeal of their downtown Los Angeles development project. Lee is serving a six-year federal prison sentence. 940 Hill LLC was sentenced to five years’ probation, was fined $1.5 million, and was ordered to pay the costs of prosecution.

In November 2022, Huang’s downtown Los Angeles-based company Shen Zhen New World I LLC was convicted of eight felonies for – through the actions of its owner, Huang – paying more than $1 million in bribes – including luxury trip expenses, casino gambling chips and the $600,000 sham loan – to Huizar to obtain city approval to build a 77-story skyscraper. The company was sentenced to five years of probation, fined $4 million, and ordered to pay the costs of prosecution.

Prosecutors also have secured guilty pleas from Chiang, George Esparza, Huizar’s former special assistant, political fundraiser Justin Jangwoo Kim, and lobbyist Morrie Goldman for their roles in the CD-14 Enterprise. Each of these defendants cooperated with the government, testified during at least one trial, and awaits sentencing.

The FBI investigated this matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Mack E. Jenkins, Chief of the Criminal Division, and Assistant United States Attorneys Cassie D. Palmer, Susan S. Har, and Brian R. Faerstein of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section are prosecuting this case.

Any member of the public who has information related to this or any other public corruption matter in the City of Los Angeles is encouraged to send information to the FBI’s email tip line at or to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated March 27, 2024

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 24-067