FBI Charged 18 of Lee Baca’s Los Angeles Sheriffs With Crimes – Corruption “Institutionalized”

Charged with crimes by the FBI are Deputy Bryan Brunsting, Deputy Jason Branum, Sgt. Eric Gonzalez, Deputy Sussie Ayala, Deputy Fernando Luviano, Deputy Pantamitr Zunggeemoge, Deputy Noel Womack, Lt. Gregory Thompson, Lt. Stephen Leavins, Deputy Gerard Smith, Deputy Mickey Manzo, Deputy James Sexton, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricella Long, Deputy Richard Piquette, Deputy Billy Khounthavong, Deputy Benny Khounthavong and Deputy Johnny Khounthavong.


FBI Charged 18 of Lee Baca’s Los Angeles Sheriffs With Crimes – Corruption “Institutionalized”

FBI Charged 18 of Lee Baca’s Los Angeles Sheriffs With Crimes – Corruption “Institutionalized”


Felony counts levied against the indicted deputies include deprivation of rights, false statements, civil rights conspiracy, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The civil rights offense is punishable with 10 years in federal prison if convicted. The remaining charges can carry up to five years of incarceration if found guilty.

Los Angeles top sheriff Lee Baca gave a press conference shortly after the FBI annouced it’s criminal charges against his 18 employees. The FBI unconditionally categorized the corruption occurring under Mr. Baca’s leadership as “institutionalized.”


Charged with crimes by the FBI are Deputy Bryan Brunsting, Deputy Jason Branum, Sgt. Eric Gonzalez, Deputy Sussie Ayala, Deputy Fernando Luviano, Deputy Pantamitr Zunggeemoge, Deputy Noel Womack, Lt. Gregory Thompson, Lt. Stephen Leavins, Deputy Gerard Smith, Deputy Mickey Manzo, Deputy James Sexton, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricella Long, Deputy Richard Piquette, Deputy Billy Khounthavong, Deputy Benny Khounthavong and Deputy Johnny Khounthavong.

Charged with crimes by the FBI are Deputy Bryan Brunsting, Deputy Jason Branum, Sgt. Eric Gonzalez, Deputy Sussie Ayala, Deputy Fernando Luviano, Deputy Pantamitr Zunggeemoge, Deputy Noel Womack, Lt. Gregory Thompson, Lt. Stephen Leavins, Deputy Gerard Smith, Deputy Mickey Manzo, Deputy James Sexton, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricella Long, Deputy Richard Piquette, Deputy Billy Khounthavong, Deputy Benny Khounthavong and Deputy Johnny Khounthavong.



Below is the infomation from the Federal Bureau of Investigations’s website detailing it’s agency’s indictments of 18 Los Angeles County Sheriffs on December 9, 2013.

United States v. Brunsting and Branum, CR13-573

Two deputy sheriffs—Bryan Brunsting and Jason Branum—are charged in a six-count indictment with civil rights violations and making false statements in reports. Brunsting, who was a training officer, is charged in relation to an incident in which an inmate allegedly was assaulted and suffered bodily injury. Both Brunsting and Branum are charged in another assault. The victims were inmates at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, where both deputies worked. Following the two incidents, the indictment alleges that Brunsting used deputies he was training to file reports that covered up the abuse. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Fox, Lizabeth A. Rhodes of the Central District of California, and Margaret Carter of the Civil Rights and Public Corruption Section.

United States v. Gonzalez, et al., CR13-574

This indictment charges a sergeant and four deputies with civil rights violations that allege they arrested or detained five victims—including the Austrian consul general—when they arrived to visit inmates at the Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) in 2010 and 2011.

The lead defendant in this indictment—Sergeant Eric Gonzalez, who was a supervisor in the MCJ visiting center but no longer works for LASD—fostered an atmosphere “that encouraged and tolerated abuses of the law, including through the use of unjustified force and unreasonable searches and seizures by deputy sheriffs he supervised,” according to the indictment.

Each of the four deputies—Sussie Ayala, Fernando Luviano, Pantamitr Zunggeemoge, and Noel Womack—is charged with participating in at least one of the four incidents in which victims allegedly suffered civil rights violations. In one incident, a man suffered a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder that has left him permanently disabled. In another incident, the Austrian consul general and her husband were handcuffed and detained.

This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Fox, Lizabeth A. Rhodes of the Central District of California, and Margaret Carter of the Civil Rights and Public Corruption Section.

United States v. Thompson, et al., CR13-819

This six-count indictment that alleges a broad conspiracy to obstruct justice charges seven sworn members of the LASD. This case developed when deputies assigned to the Men’s Central Jail—including Lieutenant Gregory Thompson, who oversaw LASD’s Operation Safe Jails Program, and Lieutenant Stephen Leavins, who was assigned to the LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau—learned that an inmate was an FBI informant and was acting as a cooperator in the FBI’s corruption and civil rights investigation.

After learning that the inmate received a cellular phone from a deputy sheriff who took a bribe and that the inmate was part of a civil rights investigation, those allegedly involved in the obstruction scheme took affirmative steps to hide the cooperator from the FBI and the United States Marshals Service, which was attempting to bring the inmate to testify before a federal grand jury in response to an order issued by a federal judge. As part of the conspiracy, the deputies allegedly altered records to make it appear that the cooperator had been released. They then re-booked the inmate under a different name and then told the cooperator that he had been abandoned by the FBI.

Over the course of several weeks, the deputy sheriffs allegedly also attempted to obtain an order from a Los Angeles Superior Court judge that would have compelled the FBI to turn over information about its investigation to LASD. After the judge refused to issue such an order, according to the indictment, two LASD sergeants who are charged in this case nevertheless confronted an FBI special agent at her residence in an attempt to intimidate her into providing details about the investigation. The sergeants falsely told the special agent and her supervisor that they were obtaining a warrant for her arrest, according to the indictment.

Thompson no longer works for LASD. The other deputies named in this indictment are Gerard Smith, Mickey Manzo, and James Sexton, who were assigned to the Operation Safe Jails Program; and Scott Craig and Maricella Long, who were LASD sergeants within the Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau.

This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon Fox, Lizabeth A. Rhodes of the Central District of California, and Margaret Carter of the Civil Rights and Public Corruption Section.

United States v. Piquette, CR13-821

Deputy Richard Piquette is charged in the fourth indictment with illegally building and possessing an assault rifle. The indictment charges Piquette with possessing an unregistered Noveske Rifleworks N-4 .223 caliber rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches. The second count in the indictment charges Piquette with manufacturing the Noveske rifle. Piquette, who is currently on leave with LASD, was previously assigned to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. The investigation in this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lane Dilg of the Civil Rights and Public Corruption Section.

United States v. Khounthavong, et al., 13-3105M

The fifth case unsealed today is a criminal complaint that charges three LASD deputies, all of whom are brothers, with conspiracy to make false statements to two banks in connection with a “buy-and-bail” mortgage fraud scheme. The complaint alleges that the three deputies—Billy Khounthavong, Benny Khounthavong, and Johnny Khounthavong—made false statements and reports to Flagstar Bank to purchase a 3,900-square-foot residence in Corona. The brothers then made additional false statements and reports to Bank of America in relation to another large residence they owned. The brothers walked away from—or “bailed” on—that home in which they were “under water,” meaning they owed substantially more than the residence was worth. As a result of the scheme, the brothers allegedly avoided more than $340,000 of unpaid mortgage debt. Benny Khounthavong and Johnny Khounthavong are assigned to LASD jail facilities. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret.

Mitch for Occupy Los Angeles News

http://www.occupylosangelesnews.org

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