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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Former Member of Westminster Planning Commission to Face Federal Charge of Soliciting Bribe to Help Obtain a Liquor License

          SANTA ANA, California – A former member of the Planning Commission for the City of Westminster is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of soliciting and receiving a $15,000 bribe to help a person obtain a liquor license.

          Dave Phuong Dinh Vo, 42, of Westminster, is expected to surrender and be arraigned this morning on one count of bribery in a program receiving federal funds.

          Vo has agreed to plead guilty to the federal bribery charge.

          “Public officials like Mr. Vo must serve the interests of the public at all times, and not succumb to the temptation of accepting bribes from those seeking to influence the process," said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The people of Westminster deserve to have confidence that their government is granting permits based on merit rather than those willing to pay bribes.”

          Vo served as a Planning Commissioner in the Orange County city from early 2009 through August 25, 2011. As a Planning Commissioner, Vo had influence over the issuance of conditional use permits.

          In June 2011, Vo solicited a $15,000 bribe from a confidential informant working with the FBI, he admitted in a plea agreement. During August 2011, over the course of four meetings, Vo received payments that totaled $15,000 in exchange for pushing the liquor license through the city’s approval process.

"Corrupt activity such as the defendant's in this case leads to an erosion of trust in government by citizens whose livelihoods depend on decisions made by elected officials," said Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office.  "Mr. Vo's admission of guilt is a welcome step in restoring that trust."

          The charging document, called an information, and the plea agreement were filed June 2 in United States District Court.

          The bribery charge carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

          The case against Vo was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Ahn of the Santa Ana Branch Office.

16-146
Topic: 
Public Corruption
Updated July 5, 2016