Twenty-Year Colma City Councilman Admits Receiving Gifts
SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Legal News Daily – United States Attorney Scott N. Schools announced that Phillip J. Lum, the former Mayor of Colma and a member of the Colma City Council for twenty years, pleaded guilty yesterday to public-corruption charges in connection with allegations that Mr. Lum accepted first-class and coach airline tickets to the Philippines from the owner of a Colma casino, even as he took official actions that benefitted that casino.
Mr. Lum, 54, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1346. As part of his plea, Mr. Lum admitted in open court that he deprived the people of the city of Colma to their right to his honest services as an elected representative.
“The public places a tremendous amount of trust in its elected representatives through voting them into office,” U.S. Attorney Schools said. “Elected officials who violate that trust for personal gain will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Mr. Lum was first elected to the Colma City Council in 1986 and served continuously as a council member until his election defeat in October 2006. At various times during his two-decade tenure on the Council, Mr. Lum also served as Mayor of Colma.
In pleading guilty, Mr. Lum admitted that in 1999 and 2000, he accepted numerous trips to the Philippines that were paid for by Lucky Chances Casino. He further admitted that he did not disclose these gifts on public disclosure forms, as required by state law, and that he voted on issues before the City Council that he knew would benefit the casino.
The sentencing of Mr. Lum is scheduled for July 12, 2007 before United States District Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1346 is 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. 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.
Robin Harris is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Ana Guerra. The prosecution is the result of a four year investigation by the FBI.