Bribery Sting Finds Bribes Buried in Back Yard – Former Councilmember Pleads Guilty
Photo: Ricardo Pacheco (Keith Birmingham, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/SCNG)
BALDWIN PARK – A former member of the City Council, since 1997, pleaded guilty to bribery charges stemming from an FBI probe revealing tens of thousands of dollars in bribes supplied by an FBI-directed Baldwin Park Police Officer.
The Justice Department announced 01/27/2021 that Ricardo Pacheco (58), of Baldwin Park, who also served as mayor pro tempore in 2018, accepted nearly $38K in political-support monies, including $20,000 in cash, for the BP Police Association’s contract with the city.
Pacheco’s June 15th guilty plea to a federal bribery charge was sealed until this week, and contains a redacted statement of facts that will not be revealed during the ongoing public corruption investigations.
What is available now: over a 10-month period in 2018, Pacheco admitted his soliciting bribes for the 3- year contract worth nearly $4.4 million – to cast his March 2018 vote for the contract. Two officers approached the FBI as an assist in this corruption investigation.
“The payments to Pacheco included a $20,000 cash bribe in October 2018, which the police officer provided to him in an envelope in a Baldwin Park coffee shop,” said Thom Mrozek of the United States Attorney’s Office.
“Pacheco also solicited and received $17,900 in checks that he directed be made out to his church and sham political action committees he had set up using other individuals’ names but which he controlled.”
Pacheco’s plea agreement included resigning from the city council, and to fully cooperate with ongoing investigations, along with the forfeit of “$83,145 in cash proceeds seized by the FBI,” said Mrozek, “which included $62,900 that Pacheco said he had buried in his backyard in two locations.” He’ll face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II heard the guilty plea, and scheduled sentencing for 08/02/2021. The case against Pacheco is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas F. Rybarczyk of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.
This case, related to public corruption investigations, is being conducted by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U. S. Attorney’s Office. Anyone with information related to this or any other public corruption matter in L. A. County is encouraged to submit information via the FBI’s email tip line: email@example.com, or contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office (310) 477-6565.