Orange County sheriff indicted
SANTA ANA ” Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona has been indicted on federal corruption charges, a newspaper has reported.
The charges stem from an investigation into allegations the three-term sheriff misused his office for financial gain, the Los Angeles Times said in a story printed Tuesday.
The Times said it learned of the indictment from law enforcement officials, whom it does not name.
Officials told the newspaper the sealed indictment could be made public as early as Tuesday.
It was not clear what the full scope of the indictment would be. Calls to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Carona’s attorney H. Dean Stewart were not immediately returned.
A one-time close friend of Carona, former Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo, already has pleaded guilty in the case, his attorney told the Times.
Jaramillo admitted he had collected about $45,000 in cash and gifts, then filed false income tax returns to conceal the income.
Jaramillo’s attorney Robert Z. Corrado said his client was cooperating with prosecutors in the investigation of Carona. Jaramillo is serving a 12-month sentence on state charges.
Federal investigators were looking into Carona’s activities since he was elected sheriff, Corrado said.
Michael Schroeder, a political adviser and non-criminal attorney for Carona, told the Times that federal authorities had not questioned the sheriff or told him he was being investigated.
Schroeder said Carona was currently focused on the wildfires that have been burning across large parts of Southern California.
An indictment would be a serious blow to Carona, 52, who was once a rising star in California Republican Politics and had been mentioned as a possible candidate for lieutenant governor.
Carona has come under scrutiny before. The Times reported in 2005 that he had issued badges and concealed-weapons permits to campaign contributors without proper training or background checks.
In August, Carona agreed to a settlement with the state Fair Political Practices Commission and paid a $15,000 fine after he incorrectly billed his campaign committee for thousands of dollars in non-itemized expenses.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com
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