SAN FRANCISCO – Three former executives of a San Francisco based construction planning and design firm were charged today paying bribes to employees of the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (”DBI”), announced the Chief of the Criminal Division of the Office for the U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Colthurst and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp.
Siavash “Sia” Tahbazof, 72, was charged in an Information filed today with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud for paying bribes to DBI employees in return for their agreement to expedite and issue building plan permits and approve building inspections, beginning in 2003. According to the Information, Tahbazof conspired to bribe city employees including former DBI plan checkers Cyril Yu and Rodolfo “Rudy” Pada, and DBI building inspector Bernard Curran.
In a separate information also filed today, Reza Khoshnevisan, 54, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud for paying bribes to Pada and Yu in return for their agreement to expedite and issue building plan permits. The conspiracy allegedly began in 2012.
In addition, Bahman Ghassemzadeh, 38, was charged in a third Information filed today. Ghassemzadeh is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud for paying bribes to Pada, Yu, and Curran, beginning in 2014, in return for their agreement to expedite and issue building plan permits and approve building inspections.
DBI is a regulatory city agency in San Francisco responsible for overseeing enforcement of building, electrical, plumbing, and housing codes for the City of San Francisco’s more than 200,000 commercial and residential buildings. Contractors and builders submit construction plans to DBI for approval and permitting; the plans are required to be reviewed and approved by DBI to insure that the proposed construction and building meets city codes and regulations.
An Information merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendants were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of twenty years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Pada, 68, and Yu, 41, have both already been charged in separate Informations with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. The Informations, filed on November 3, 2023, allege Pada accepted bribes in return for expediting and approving permits for building and construction plans and allege that Yu accepted bribes in return for approving permits for construction and building plans.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Ward and Casey Boome are prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.