News

Undersheriff, Apple security chief, businessman indicted in bribery schemes

Defendants include Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith's second-in-command

Four people, including top brass in the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, have been indicted in bribery schemes for donations to Sheriff Laurie Smith's reelection campaign in exchange for highly coveted gun permits.

Undersheriff Rick Sung. Courtesy Santa Clara County Office of the Sheriff.

A grand jury issued two indictments ​on Thursday, Nov. 19, against Undersheriff Rick Sung, 48, and Capt. James Jensen, 43, who are accused of requesting bribes for concealed firearms licenses, also known as CCW licenses. Insurance broker Harpreet Chadha, 49, and Apple's Chief Security Officer Thomas Moyer, 50, are accused of offering bribes to receive the permits, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said during a press conference on Monday morning.

The two-year investigation by the district attorney's office found that Sung, who was allegedly aided by Jensen in one instance, held up the distribution of CCW licenses and refused to release them until the applicants gave something of value. Investigators determined some of the money was sent to Sheriff Smith's reelection campaign, Rosen said.

Sung has been indicted on three counts of asking or receiving a bribe by an executive officer, a felony, for incidents dating between Oct. 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018, for allegedly asking for a bribe from Chadha and for asking for a bribe from Moyer between Dec. 7, 2018 and Feb. 14, 2019, according to the redacted indictments. Jensen, who was previously indicted, is also now charged with asking for or receiving a bribe by an executive officer for the scheme involving Moyer.

Moyer and Chadha each face a single count of bribing an executive officer. So far, 13 people have been indicted in the bribery schemes. Three people pleaded guilty on Aug. 31 and Oct. 19, Rosen said. Thirty-two witnesses testified before the grand jury, including former U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, according to the indictment witness list.

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Sung and Jensen allegedly held up four gun licenses from Apple employees and extracted from Moyer a promise that Apple would donate iPads to the sheriff's office. A donation of 200 iPads worth nearly $70,000 was ended at the last minute after Aug. 2, 2019, when Sung and Moyer learned that the district attorney's office had issued a search warrant seizing all of the sheriff's office's CCW license records.

Sung allegedly received a promise from Chadha of $6,000 worth of luxury box seat tickets to a San Jose Sharks hockey game at the SAP Center on Valentine's Day 2019. Sheriff Smith’s family members and some of her biggest political supporters held a small celebration of her reelection as sheriff in the suite, according to a statement from the district attorney's office.

Sung is the highest ranking law enforcement officer ever indicted in the county, Rosen said.

Capt. James Jensen, a past spokesperson in the sheriff's office, was previously indicted in the concealed carry weapon (CCW) license bribery case. Gun permits, known as CCW permits, are not easily obtained. The manager of an executive protection company, AS Solution Inc., allegedly received the gun permits for his executive protection agents in exchange for a $90,000 bribe to Smith's reelection campaign between April 2018 and August 2019. Multiple people, including a local gun parts manufacturer and an attorney, were also indicted.

"Undersheriff Sung and Capt. Jensen treated CCW licenses as commodities and found willing buyers. Bribe seekers should be reported to the District Attorney's Office, not rewarded with compliance," Rosen said.

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"Call this quid pro quo. Call it pay-to-play. Call it give to get. It is illegal and deeply erodes public confidence in the criminal justice system.

"When high-ranking members of a law enforcement agency are at the heart of a bribery scheme, it tarnishes the badge, the honor, the reputations and — tragically — the effectiveness of all law enforcement agencies," Rosen said.

The defendants are expected to surrender shortly, he said. They will be arraigned on Jan. 11 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. If convicted, the defendants could receive prison time.

Sung has been placed on administrative leave and Jensen has been on administrative leave since August. The sheriff's office continues to cooperate with the District Attorney's Office, the agency said in a Nov. 20 statement.

On Monday, the sheriff's office issued another statement: "As law enforcement officers, we are held to the highest moral and ethical standards. This is a difficult time for our organization, however our goal remains to provide the highest level of public safety to the residents of Santa Clara County. The hundreds of men and women who represent the Sheriff’s Office will continue to serve our community with compassion, honesty and integrity."

A CCW license generally costs between $200 and $400. Under state law, it is a crime to carry a concealed firearm without a CCW license. State law requires that an applicant show "good cause" for the license, in addition to completing a firearms course and having good moral character, but the sheriff has broad discretion in determining qualified applicants, the district attorney's office press release.

Rosen said that there could be additional indictments and charges. Asked whether Smith, who signs off on all gun permits, knew or should have known about the bribery schemes, Rosen said, "That's your question. There's nothing more I can say."

Smith and Sung could not directly be reached for comment. A sheriff's spokesperson referred only to the general statement from the agency after a request for comment from Smith.

Moyer's attorney, Ed Swanson of Swanson & McNamara, said in a statement that his client is innocent and that his reputation has been tarnished by "baseless charges."

"Ultimately, this case is about a long, bitter, and very public dispute between the Santa Clara County Sheriff and the District Attorney, and Tom is collateral damage to that dispute. We look forward to making Tom’s innocence clear in court and bringing an end to this wrong-headed prosecution," he said.

Apple, in a brief statement, echoed its support for Moyer on Monday.

"We expect all of our employees to conduct themselves with integrity. After learning of the allegations, we conducted a thorough internal investigation and found no wrongdoing," the Cupertino-based company said.

The grand jury report could be publicly released in the next two to three weeks if it is not sealed by the court, a move the district attorney's office does not oppose, Rosen said.

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Undersheriff, Apple security chief, businessman indicted in bribery schemes

Defendants include Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith's second-in-command

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 7:22 pm
Updated: Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 3:30 pm

Four people, including top brass in the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, have been indicted in bribery schemes for donations to Sheriff Laurie Smith's reelection campaign in exchange for highly coveted gun permits.

A grand jury issued two indictments ​on Thursday, Nov. 19, against Undersheriff Rick Sung, 48, and Capt. James Jensen, 43, who are accused of requesting bribes for concealed firearms licenses, also known as CCW licenses. Insurance broker Harpreet Chadha, 49, and Apple's Chief Security Officer Thomas Moyer, 50, are accused of offering bribes to receive the permits, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said during a press conference on Monday morning.

The two-year investigation by the district attorney's office found that Sung, who was allegedly aided by Jensen in one instance, held up the distribution of CCW licenses and refused to release them until the applicants gave something of value. Investigators determined some of the money was sent to Sheriff Smith's reelection campaign, Rosen said.

Sung has been indicted on three counts of asking or receiving a bribe by an executive officer, a felony, for incidents dating between Oct. 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018, for allegedly asking for a bribe from Chadha and for asking for a bribe from Moyer between Dec. 7, 2018 and Feb. 14, 2019, according to the redacted indictments. Jensen, who was previously indicted, is also now charged with asking for or receiving a bribe by an executive officer for the scheme involving Moyer.

Moyer and Chadha each face a single count of bribing an executive officer. So far, 13 people have been indicted in the bribery schemes. Three people pleaded guilty on Aug. 31 and Oct. 19, Rosen said. Thirty-two witnesses testified before the grand jury, including former U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, according to the indictment witness list.

Sung and Jensen allegedly held up four gun licenses from Apple employees and extracted from Moyer a promise that Apple would donate iPads to the sheriff's office. A donation of 200 iPads worth nearly $70,000 was ended at the last minute after Aug. 2, 2019, when Sung and Moyer learned that the district attorney's office had issued a search warrant seizing all of the sheriff's office's CCW license records.

Sung allegedly received a promise from Chadha of $6,000 worth of luxury box seat tickets to a San Jose Sharks hockey game at the SAP Center on Valentine's Day 2019. Sheriff Smith’s family members and some of her biggest political supporters held a small celebration of her reelection as sheriff in the suite, according to a statement from the district attorney's office.

Sung is the highest ranking law enforcement officer ever indicted in the county, Rosen said.

Capt. James Jensen, a past spokesperson in the sheriff's office, was previously indicted in the concealed carry weapon (CCW) license bribery case. Gun permits, known as CCW permits, are not easily obtained. The manager of an executive protection company, AS Solution Inc., allegedly received the gun permits for his executive protection agents in exchange for a $90,000 bribe to Smith's reelection campaign between April 2018 and August 2019. Multiple people, including a local gun parts manufacturer and an attorney, were also indicted.

"Undersheriff Sung and Capt. Jensen treated CCW licenses as commodities and found willing buyers. Bribe seekers should be reported to the District Attorney's Office, not rewarded with compliance," Rosen said.

"Call this quid pro quo. Call it pay-to-play. Call it give to get. It is illegal and deeply erodes public confidence in the criminal justice system.

"When high-ranking members of a law enforcement agency are at the heart of a bribery scheme, it tarnishes the badge, the honor, the reputations and — tragically — the effectiveness of all law enforcement agencies," Rosen said.

The defendants are expected to surrender shortly, he said. They will be arraigned on Jan. 11 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. If convicted, the defendants could receive prison time.

Sung has been placed on administrative leave and Jensen has been on administrative leave since August. The sheriff's office continues to cooperate with the District Attorney's Office, the agency said in a Nov. 20 statement.

On Monday, the sheriff's office issued another statement: "As law enforcement officers, we are held to the highest moral and ethical standards. This is a difficult time for our organization, however our goal remains to provide the highest level of public safety to the residents of Santa Clara County. The hundreds of men and women who represent the Sheriff’s Office will continue to serve our community with compassion, honesty and integrity."

A CCW license generally costs between $200 and $400. Under state law, it is a crime to carry a concealed firearm without a CCW license. State law requires that an applicant show "good cause" for the license, in addition to completing a firearms course and having good moral character, but the sheriff has broad discretion in determining qualified applicants, the district attorney's office press release.

Rosen said that there could be additional indictments and charges. Asked whether Smith, who signs off on all gun permits, knew or should have known about the bribery schemes, Rosen said, "That's your question. There's nothing more I can say."

Smith and Sung could not directly be reached for comment. A sheriff's spokesperson referred only to the general statement from the agency after a request for comment from Smith.

Moyer's attorney, Ed Swanson of Swanson & McNamara, said in a statement that his client is innocent and that his reputation has been tarnished by "baseless charges."

"Ultimately, this case is about a long, bitter, and very public dispute between the Santa Clara County Sheriff and the District Attorney, and Tom is collateral damage to that dispute. We look forward to making Tom’s innocence clear in court and bringing an end to this wrong-headed prosecution," he said.

Apple, in a brief statement, echoed its support for Moyer on Monday.

"We expect all of our employees to conduct themselves with integrity. After learning of the allegations, we conducted a thorough internal investigation and found no wrongdoing," the Cupertino-based company said.

The grand jury report could be publicly released in the next two to three weeks if it is not sealed by the court, a move the district attorney's office does not oppose, Rosen said.

Comments

Sheriff - Speak Up
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2020 at 10:53 pm
Sheriff - Speak Up, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 20, 2020 at 10:53 pm
24 people like this

When will we hear from the Sheriff on this?
Does the buck stop with her as it should with all good leaders?

For months, more and more persons have been indicted in this gun permit bribery scandal as it creeps to the top of the Sheriffs Dept. Sheriff Laurie Smith now stands alone.

Her record is concerning. On her watch, 3 jailers killed a mentally ill inmate in his cell and are in prison for murder.

Currently Smith refuses to release vital Deputy records to the County’s oversight monitor, though told to do so by the Board of Supervisors.

All indications are - Laurie Smith is the wrong person as Sheriff in one of California’s biggest and most important county. She should resign.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 21, 2020 at 9:55 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 21, 2020 at 9:55 am
36 people like this

From the PA Weekly....

>"A Santa Clara County grand jury indictment has brought accusations that staff in Sheriff Laurie Smith's inner sanctum have awarded gun permits in exchange for political contributions, the sheriff's office confirmed Friday."

>"The manager of an executive protection company, AS Solution Inc., allegedly received the gun permits for his executive protection agents in exchange for a $90,000 bribe to Smith's reelection campaign between April 2018 and August 2019. Multiple people, including a local gun parts manufacturer and an attorney, were also indicted."

^ This does not look good for the current Santa Clara County Sheriff or her department.

Politics as usual + systemic departmental CORRUPTION?

Connect the dots & the truth will reveal itself.


VS
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Nov 21, 2020 at 7:23 pm
VS, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Nov 21, 2020 at 7:23 pm
14 people like this

Sounds like there needs to be a new sheriff in town.


Hulkamania
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 23, 2020 at 3:27 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Nov 23, 2020 at 3:27 pm
1 person likes this

Sounds like a job for Sheriff Bart and the Waco Kid.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 24, 2020 at 8:26 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2020 at 8:26 am
30 people like this

This incident has now made the national news & some concur that the alleged bribery scam could have been averted IF California had 'open carry' laws as in the majority of the United States...which includes rural & urban/suburban areas.

2nd Amendment debates aside, I am somewhat curious...(1) outside of various law enforcement agencies & international spies, who really needs to keep a concealed firearm on their person AND (2) would 'open carry' laws pretty much eliminate the necessity of carrying a concealed firearm as everyone would now be 'watching their back' as an everyday precaution?

According to the Monrovia Weekly (a town outside of Pasadena, CA)....

"Five states, California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and South Carolina, as well as the District of Columbia, prohibit people from openly carrying handguns in public places. Thirty-one states allow the open carrying of a handgun without any license or permit, although in some cases the gun must be unloaded."


Lock guns up separately from ammo
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Nov 24, 2020 at 9:35 am
Lock guns up separately from ammo, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2020 at 9:35 am
10 people like this

So far as I can tell, the only people for whom a concealed-carry permit makes sense are bodyguards for high-profile individuals. There are a few in Palo Alto.

For the rest of us, the tradeoffs are completely not worth it. The increased risk of suicide or accident means that you and your family are safer if you lock up your guns and ammo separately, bringing them together only when heading out to the range or to hunt.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 24, 2020 at 10:23 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2020 at 10:23 am
13 people like this

>"So far as I can tell, the only people for whom a concealed-carry permit makes sense are bodyguards for high-profile individuals. There are a few in Palo Alto."

^ None that I am aware of....the last time I checked.

>"...you and your family are safer if you lock up your guns and ammo separately, bringing them together only when heading out to the range or to hunt."

^ Concurring...but interesting to note that 4 of the 5 states (including the District of Columbia) that prohibit the 'open carry' of firearms also have the highest crime rates.

Curious...is packing 'heat' a crime deterrent of its own accord? Folks that I have spoken to from Colorado & Idaho seem to believe so.


Anne
Registered user
Midtown
on Nov 24, 2020 at 12:18 pm
Anne, Midtown
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2020 at 12:18 pm
Like this comment

When's my next opportunity to vote Sheriff Smith out?


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 24, 2020 at 1:50 pm
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2020 at 1:50 pm
12 people like this

In an editorial dated September 23, 2020, the San Jose Mercury called for Sheriff Smith's resignation...and then a month later, her second in command was indicted (following the others) in this 'pay to play' scheme.

Fingers are starting to point higher up the food chain.

Web Link


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