Judge says FBI searches in Colonies case appear just

Joe Nelson and Mike Cruz, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 11/10/2011 05:01:31 PM PST

RIVERSIDE — A federal judge seemed poised to rule that federal agents did not violate the civil rights of Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum when they served search warrants at his home and office in September.

During a two-hour hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court, Judge S. James Otero heard arguments from Burum’s attorney, Stephen G. Larson, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry A. Behnke over whether federal prosecutors should be able to retain documents and other information seized during the Sept. 15 raid.

There is no deadline or estimated amount of time for Otero to deliver a decision, lawyers said. All they can do is wait for an email alert from the court that a ruling is available.
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Seized files to be returned to Burum

In a rare move, federal prosecutors have agreed to return materials to a Rancho Cucamonga developer that were seized in September as part of an investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the $102 million lawsuit settlement between Colonies Partners LP and San Bernardino County.

The materials were seized by FBI agents serving search warrants at the offices and home of developer Jeff Burum, Colonies co-managing partner, and looking into alleged bribery and conspiracy related to the landmark 2006 settlement.

Stephen Larson, Burum’s attorney and a former federal judge, argued in the days after the Sept. 15 search that agents erred by taking documents and other materials not covered under the warrant.
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Attorney: Former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin civil rights violated

Joe Nelson, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 10/17/2011 02:19:00 PM PDT

The attorney defending former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin in a sweeping corruption probe is alleging that an FBI search of Erwin’s home was flawed and that Erwin’s civil rights were violated.

A motion filed by attorney Rajan Maline in U.S. District Court in Riverside on Oct. 11 is the second to be filed in the last three weeks challenging the strength of the Sept. 15 FBI raid in connection with an investigation into the county’s $102 million legal settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP in November 2006.

On Oct. 3, attorney Stephen Larson, who represents Colonies’ co-managing partner Jeff Burum, filed a motion with the court alleging Burum’s civil rights were violated and FBI agents essentially lied to him and in an official court document, tainting the search altogether.
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Developer Burum’s attorney says FBI searches unconstitutional

Joe Nelson, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 10/04/2011 01:59:35 PM PDT

Federal search warrants served at the home and business of Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum were unconstitutionally overbroad and vague, according to a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Riverside.

Burum’s attorney, Stephen G. Larson, is demanding that all of Burum’s property seized during the Sept. 15 FBI and IRS raid immediately be returned to him.

The warrants were served at nine locations in San Bernardino and Riverside counties in connection with a sweeping corruption scandal involving allegations of bribery, extortion and fraud, according to the federal search warrant.

The allegations stem from a $102 million legal settlement between the county and Burum’s development consortium, Colonies Partners LP, in November 2006.
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Postmus’ attorney concerned FBI investigation may target ex-county supervisor

Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/29/2011 09:38:47 PM PDT

The attorney for Bill Postmus is concerned that his client, who is cooperating with state and local prosecutors in their investigation of San Bernardino County’s $102 million legal settlement with a Rancho Cucamonga developer, could be in legal jeopardy from a federal investigation into the deal.

The former county supervisor’s name appears in a federal search warrant served Sept. 15 by roughly 100 FBI and IRS agents in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The FBI and IRS are investigating allegations of bribery, extortion and fraud in connection with the record settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP, according to the warrant.

Stephen Levine, Postmus’ attorney, said he contacted prosecutor Lewis Cope, who heads the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, last week to discuss the federal investigation and whether state and local prosecutors have some kind of agreement with the FBI in which Postmus would be immune from federal prosecution. The two have yet to discuss the matter.
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