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Rialto police officer indicted in federal bribery case

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  • suesarkis@aol.com
    Rialto police officer indicted in federal bribery case 10:27 PM PDT on Monday, June 6, 2011 By RICHARD BROOKS The Press-Enterprise A Rialto police officer
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 7, 2011
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      Rialto police officer indicted in federal bribery case
      10:27 PM PDT on Monday, June 6, 2011

      By RICHARD BROOKS
      The Press-Enterprise
      A Rialto police officer from Highland has been indicted and arrested on
      federal bribery charges that accuse him of conspiring with an _Orange_
      (http://topics.pe.com/topic/Orange,_CA) County defense lawyer to make false
      statements to help a defendant charged with assault, U.S. Attorney's officials
      say.
      Officer Aaron Scott Vigil, 41, and attorney Lawrence Anthony Witsoe, 67, of
      _Mission Viejo_ (http://topics.pe.com/topic/Mission_Viejo) , surrendered
      to _FBI_ (http://topics.pe.com/topic/Federal_Bureau_of_Investigation)
      agents after being named in a three-count indictment handed down Wednesday.
      "The indictment, which was unsealed this morning, alleges that Vigil, who
      served as a task force officer with the _Drug Enforcement Administration_
      (http://topics.pe.com/topic/Drug_Enforcement_Administration) , agreed to
      accept a $2,500 bribe in exchange for falsely telling the _Orange_
      (http://topics.pe.com/topic/Orange,_CA) County District Attorney's Office that a
      criminal defendant being represented by Witsoe was a cooperator who had provided
      information to the DEA," U.S. Attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a
      written statement.
      Vigil and Witsoe are charged with conspiracy and with soliciting and
      accepting a bribe by a public official, according to the statement. Witsoe also
      is charged with bribery of a public official.
      The indictment says that the scheme began in 2009 when Witsoe told a client
      who was facing assault charges that for $1,000 -- but later increased to
      $2,500 -- Witsoe potentially could get the case dismissed.
      "Witsoe told the client that he could have a DEA agent call the Orange
      County District Attorney's Office, explain that the client was a DEA informant
      and ask the district attorney for consideration for the work the client had
      performed for the DEA," the statement says.
      "Thereafter, Vigil contacted the Orange County District Attorney's Office
      on several occasions and explained that Witsoe's client had provided
      reliable information regarding drug traffickers and that his cooperation led to
      the DEA seizing $110,000 in drug money," according to the statement. "When
      the district attorney dismissed the case, Witsoe instructed the client to
      wire the $2,500 to his client trust account, and Witsoe then wrote a check to
      the ex-wife of an associate of Vigil."
      Reach Richard Brooks at 951-368-9463 or _rbrooks@..._
      (mailto:rbrooks@...)


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