Ex-Sheriff’s Captain Pleads Guilty in Corruption Case

20 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ex-sheriff’s captain to plead guilty in federal jail probe.

A retired high-ranking Los Angeles County sheriff’s official, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying under oath, is the latest to fall in a jail scandal that has resulted in several convictions for obstructing a federal investigation and using excessive force. William “Tom” Carey pleaded guilty to lying on the witness stand while testifying in the trial of former Deputy James Sexton, according to a plea agreement filed in U.S.

William “Tom” Carey entered his plea in a downtown courtroom, admitting to a single charge of lying during his testimony at a trial last year of a sheriff’s deputy who faced obstruction charges. In exchange for his plea and cooperation, Carey — the highest-ranking official to be convicted in the ongoing jail probe — can expect to receive a reduced prison sentence of not more than 16 months, according to the document. Carey and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka were charged in May with obstruction of justice, with conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice. In exchange, Carey is expected to cooperate with federal authorities as they go after Paul Tanaka, once the second-highest-ranking official in the Sheriff’s Department.

However, the maximum possible penalty when he goes before the judge for sentencing on Jan. 25 is five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. “Yes, your honor,” Carey responded when asked by U.S. With Carey’s guilty plea, 15 members of the Sheriff’s Department have been convicted of federal crimes including beating inmates, obstructing justice, bribery and conspiracy. Carey was head of the department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, tasked to “root out the very corruption” charged in the federal probe, then-acting U.S. The case against the deputy centered largely on efforts by him and other sheriff’s officials to conceal the whereabouts of an inmate after discovering he was working as an informant for the FBI.

Prosecutors say deputies tried to hide an FBI jail informant from his handlers for two weeks in 2011 by shifting him from cell to cell at various jails under different names and altering jail computer records. The deputies argued during the trials that they were not trying to interfere with the FBI’s investigation but moved the inmate to keep him safe from other inmates and deputies.

Tanaka and Carey were the eighth and ninth sheriff’s department officials to face criminal charges connected to actions taken in August 2011, when inmate-turned-FBI informant Anthony Brown was hidden from his FBI handlers. In a trial of multiple deputies, Tanaka testified for the defense that he was barely involved and was following Baca’s orders that he thought were lawful. A half-dozen former department officials — two lieutenants, two sergeants and two deputies — were convicted in 2014 for their roles in the cover-up and received federal prison sentences ranging from 21 to 41 months. Dean Steward, conceded in an interview last week that Carey’s decision to strike a deal and cooperate with prosecutors complicates matters for his client.

The FBI was investigating claims of excessive force against inmates by sheriff’s department jailers and had intended to have Brown testify before a grand jury. (©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. Court testimony has placed him at some of the meetings where sheriff’s officials discussed moving the inmate informant around the jails and confronting an FBI agent at her home. The federal lawsuit seeks damages for cruel and unusual punishment, municipal and supervisory liability, failure to provide adequate medical care, retaliation and civil conspiracy.

Because Carey has no criminal record, federal guidelines call for a maximum sentence of 15 to 21 months, said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School and a former federal prosecutor. Judge Percy Anderson that Carey receive credit for “acceptance of responsibility.” He could end up with a sentence of home detention and almost no prison time, Levenson said. Having Carey share what he knows and being available to testify gives prosecutors more ammunition against Tanaka but does not necessarily mean they intend to go after Baca, Levenson said. Still, Carey’s knowledge of high-level deliberations could be cause for concern for both his former bosses, she said. “It’s got to make both Tanaka and Baca nervous,” Levenson said. “Now you have someone from the higher echelons who can tell prosecutors what was happening and what people at the top did or should have done.”

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