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Justice News

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

Monday, December 9, 2013

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Sentenced To A Year In Prison In Federal Bribery Case

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA – An Orange County criminal defense attorney, who was convicted by a jury of executing a bribery scheme to obtain dismissal of a state criminal case against one of his clients, was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in federal prison.

Lawrence Anthony Witsoe, age 70, a resident of Mission Viejo, CA, was sentenced by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford.  In September, Witsoe’s co-defendant, Aaron Scott Vigil, who was a police officer with the Rialto Police Department and a Task Force Officer with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), was sentenced to 33 months in prison for his role in the bribery scheme.

In addition to his prison sentence, Witsoe’s license to practice law was suspended on August 12, 2013 as a result of his conviction in this case, according to State Bar records.

Earlier this year, a federal jury convicted both Witsoe and Vigil of conspiring to solicit a $2,500 bribe from one of Witsoe’s clients, who was charged with assault in a state criminal case, in exchange for having Officer Vigil falsely represent to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office that Witsoe’s client had been cooperating with Officer Vigil and the DEA in connection with drug investigations.  In addition to the conspiracy count, Witsoe was also found guilty of two other counts, namely, soliciting the bribe payment from his client and offering and giving the bribe payment to Officer Vigil.

Release No. 13-143a

Updated June 22, 2015