Thursday, October 10, 2013

#InTheNews: October 10, 2013

Former Inland Empire Utility Agency official sentenced on tax evasion charges
Canan Tasci, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

A former elected official with the Chino-based Inland Empire Utilities Agency has been sentenced to county jail for failing to report income of about $269,189.

Angel Santiago was sentenced to 90 days in county jail and five years felony probation for tax evasion for the years 2007 to 2009, according to a Franchise Tax Board investigation.

The 45-year-old Fontana resident received the probation sentence under a plea agreement with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

On Wednesday Santiago agreed to pay full restitution to the state, including penalties, interest and the cost of the investigation.

Santiago pleaded guilty Aug. 9 to felony charge of tax evasion at the West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga.

In November 2009, the DA Public Integrity Unit received complaints alleging Santiago, who was an Inland Empire Utilities Agency board member representing the Fontana area, touting his status as an elected official was obtaining large sums of money as “consulting” fees for services he allegedly never performed, according to the district attorney’s news release.

It was also alleged Santiago -who was an area franchisor for a car wash company as well — was representing himself as a trusted elected official in order to lure prospective franchisees as investors, Deputy District Attorney Reza Sadeghi said in a news release.

“According to the complainants, Mr. Santiago would ask for payments in cash and when people objected, he would ask for checks to be made in his wife’s name,” Sadeghi said. “Investigators were told Santiago would tell people he cannot have anything in his name because he is a board member, and it would be a conflict of interest.”

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107 pounds of meth seized in Fontana-Bloomington drug bust
Doug Saunders, San Bernardino Sun

A state task force arrested four suspected members of the La Familia Michoacana Mexican cartel and seized 107 pounds of methamphetamine, five kilos of cocaine and a half pound of heroin at a home in Fontana.

A task force known as Inland Crackdown Allied with the state Attorney General’s Office conducted the operation Tuesday night that netted the arrests, drugs and more than $27,000 in cash, authorities said.

Suspected cartel members Jesus Armando Cardena-Selem, 25, Fontana; Ramiro Gill, 40, Fontana; Sergio Mercado-Vasquez, 32, Fontana; and Juan Gabriel Angulo-Cabrera, 37, Fontana were booked into the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sale and transportation of a controlled substance for sale.

The undercover investigation that began in September identified the four men as suspected members of the drug trafficking organization operating in Southern California, authorities said.

Authorities say the four suspects in a Dodge Caravan and Honda Pilot arrived at a predetermined meeting place at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday in Bloomington where undercover agents conducted a “buy bust” sting, purchasing 10 pounds of “meth” and then arresting the suspects.”

A search warrant was served at a Fontana residence where agents discovered the rest of the drugs seized,” special agent Steve Utter said at a news conference in Riverside on Wednesday. “The total street value of the narcotics seized is over $5,916,800.00.”

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