The widely-publicized corruption scandal in a small California city has led to a lengthy prison sentence for the former city manager at the center of the scheme. Robert Rizzo, the former city manager of Bell, California, was sentence to 12 years in state prison for his role in a public corruption scheme. He was also ordered to pay $8.8 million in restitution.
Rizzo pleaded no contest to 69 counts of criminal charges. The charges included misappropriation of public funds, falsification of public records and conspiracy. Prior to the charges, an investigation found that Rizzo misused city funds to pay himself $1.5 million in an annual salary and benefits package.
The public corruption charges aren't the only criminal charges the former city manager was facing. He was also sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for income tax evasion in a separate federal case.
The man will serve his 33 months in federal prison first and then be transferred to a state prison to serve the rest of his 12 year sentence. This may seem like a long time in prison but it could be worse. Rizzo will serve his public corruption sentence concurrently with his federal sentence instead of being required to serve the 33 months and then an additional 12 months in state prison.
The former city manager's case is an example of the serious penalties individuals can face if they are accused or convicted of public corruption charges in California. State prosecutors take public corruption and other white-collar criminal charges very seriously, especially for individuals who are given authority in the local or state government.
Source: Fox News, "Ex-city leader of Bell, California gets 12 yaers in prison for corruption scandal," April 16, 2014