June 28 – Oxnard
The son of a former Oxnard mayor, himself once a respected Simi Valley attorney, stood before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Colleen White today, who imposed a sentence of more than six years in state prison upon him pursuant to his convictions on multiple fraud and embezzlement charges dating back nearly a decade.
In October 2011, Russell Takasugi, 58, submitted a no contest plea to charges of embezzling in excess of a half-million dollars from the estate of his legal client who died in 2007. Before he could be sentenced in that case, additional charges were brought involving the embezzlement of more than $300,000 from another legal client who had died in 2002. Following his no contest plea, Takasugi was disbarred for life from the practice of law in California.
According to Assistant District Attorney Marc Leventhal, the court “took into consideration that the defendant had no priors,” but nevertheless had acted with “callous disregard” for the welfare of those who had trusted him.
Takasugi’s attorney, Ron Bamieh, presented mitigation statements to the court prior to sentencing, noting that his client had served on the Boys & Girls Club board of directors, asked the court to put him on probation in order to generate sufficient income to pay restitution to the families of his victims. That argument apparently fell upon deaf ears as Judge White imposed sentence, remarking that the defendant “did not think he would get caught.”
Today’s sentencing is notable as a dramatic fall from grace, as Takasugi is the son of Nao Takasugi, a survivor of the Japanese American internment camps who served on the Oxnard City Council and won five terms as mayor of that city. Nao Takasugi was elected to the California State Assembly three times, and was featured in Tom Brokaw’s book “The Greatest Generation”.
Photo Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking, Ventura County District Attorney
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Wikipedia: Nao Takasugi