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. Continue reading →
Mike Cruz and Joe Nelson, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 10/24/2011 02:55:29 PM PDT
SAN BERNARDINO — A Superior Court judge on Monday declined to bar more than 2,000 pages of Grand Jury transcripts in a criminal corruption probe from being used in a civil case involving the county and three other public entities.
Attorneys representing the county filed a motion with the court in September attempting to block the defendants in an indemnity lawsuit from using the transcripts in its defense. The county sued San Bernardino Associated Governments (SanBag), Caltrans and the city of Upland in 2004, seeking to recover any damages that could arise from a separate land rights lawsuit it was engaged in with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP.
The developer sued the county in 2002, arguing the county abandoned its flood control easements and refused to pay for flood control improvements on its 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland. The county settled with the developer in November 2006 for $102 million, a settlement prosecutors now say was tainted by bribery and conflict of interest. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
SAN BERNARDINO – Three San Bernardino County members of the Vagos motorcycle gang were arraigned Friday in connection with the drug and weapons raid connected on Thursday.
A fourth member from Oak Hills has a warrant for his arrest and remains at-large, while a fifth member from Ontario was arrested and remained uncharged as of Friday.
Scott Randall Rivera and Scott Randall Rivera, both of San Bernardino, and Andrew Eloy Lozano of Fontana appeared for arraignment, via a video link, in San Bernardino Superior Court. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/03/2011 12:25:41 PM PDT
A federal investigation into the practices of two San Bernardino County tax service companies has resulted in one of the largest indictments issued for tax fraud, federal officials said.
The Fontana-based Old Quest Foundation Inc. and Rancho Cucamonga-based De la Fuente and Ramirez and Associates filed false federal income tax returns containing bogus claims for refunds that sought more than $250 million, officials said.
The IRS investigation, code named “Operation Stolen Treasures,” resulted in 32 federal indictments that name a total of 55 defendants. Nearly half were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. Continue reading →