LawFuel – Legal Newswire
Complaint Alleges that City Supervisor Demanded Cash Payments from San Francisco Beverage Franchises
SAN FRANCISCO – Scott N. Schools, United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, and Charlene B. Thornton, Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Division of the FBI, jointly announced that a complaint was filed today in federal court charging Supervisor Edmund Jew with using the U.S. mails in furtherance of a scheme to deprive the public of their right to his honest services as an elected member of the Board of Supervisors for the City and County of San Francisco.
“Elected representatives owe a duty of honest services to the people they serve,” U.S. Attorney Schools said. “Officials who deprive the public of their right to these honest services must be held accountable for their actions. This Office and the FBI are committed to working in partnership to investigate and root out corruption at all levels of government.”
The complaint alleges that Mr. Jew, 47, solicited cash payments from various San Francisco franchises of the Quickly chain, which sells milk tea and tapioca beverages. According to the complaint, Mr. Jew approached a Quickly store in the Sunset District of San Francisco—which is Mr. Jew’s legislative district as a member of the Board of Supervisors—informed the owners that they were in violation of the city’s Planning Code, and demanded cash payments in exchange for assistance with their permit issues.
The complaint alleges that Mr. Jew repeatedly insisted that the payments be made in cash, despite numerous pleas from a Quickly owner and the owner’s landlord to pay by check.
According to the complaint, Mr. Jew asked a Quickly store owner to recruit as many owners as possible, and for each owner to pay $10,000 in cash for assistance with their problems with the Planning Department of San Francisco. A Quickly employee later informed Mr. Jew that eight different Quickly franchise owners had each agreed to pay $10,000, for a total payment of $80,000 to Mr. Jew and his associate.
The complaint alleges that in conversations with Quickly representatives, some of which were recorded by the FBI, Mr. Jew repeatedly touted his own power and authority as a member of the Board of Supervisors. For example, Mr. Jew said that the Planning Commission usually defers to the wishes of the Supervisor presiding over the district of businesses who have permits before the Commission. Mr. Jew also characterized himself as the “boss” of a high-ranking official in the San Francisco Planning Department.
On May 7, 2007, the complaint alleges, Quickly representatives gave Mr. Jew $40,000 in cash as a partial payment of the $80,000 total previously agreed upon.
The complaint further alleges that on May 18, 2007, Mr. Jew told FBI agents that his associate had asked him earlier on May 7 to attend a meeting Quickly representatives and to collect a fee on the associate’s behalf. Mr. Jew further insisted to the FBI that he had given all $40,000 to the associate. When an agent revealed to Mr. Jew that the FBI had recorded some of the meetings with Quickly representatives, Mr. Jew changed his story and admitted that he had kept $20,000 and gave only half the cash to his associate.
In search warrants executed on May 18, 2007, according to the complaint, the FBI found $10,000 of the cash. The FBI did not find the other $10,000 in any search warrant location.
Residents of the Sunset District in San Francisco elected Mr. Jew to the Board of Supervisors in the November 2006 election. The Mayor of San Francisco appointed Mr. Jew to the office later in November 2006, in advance of Mr. Jew’s formally taking office in January 2007.
The maximum statutory penalty for mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1346, is 20 years imprisonment and a three-year term of supervised release. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Mr. Jew is expected to self-surrender and make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte on September 21, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. in San Francisco.
A complaint contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Jew must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Li-Ming Wang is prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Ana Guerra and Helen Yee. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Case #: 3–07–70559 EDL
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Natalya LaBauve at (415) 436-7055 or by email at [email protected]