Criminal Justice News

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Former Upland Mayor Pleads Guilty in Federal Corruption Case for Accepting Bribe from Businessman Seeking Permit from City

RIVERSIDE, CA—The former mayor of Upland pleaded guilty today to a federal bribery charge, admitting that he accepted a $5,000 payment in exchange for helping a business obtain a conditional use permit from the city.

John Victor Pomierski, 58, who resigned as mayor last year after he was named in a grand jury indictment, pleaded guilty this morning before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips. Pomierski becomes the third defendant to be convicted in relation to a corruption investigation in the city of Upland.

As a result of today’s guilty plea to the bribery charge, Pomierski faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. Judge Phillips is scheduled to sentence Pomierski on August 6.

“The public is entitled to honesty and integrity from the elected officials whom they entrust with power,” said United States Attorney André Birotte, Jr. “Mr. Pomierski broke that trust when he decided to accept a bribe in return for a promise to circumvent the city’s well-established permitting system. This kind of conduct is an affront to the voters who follow the law and play by the rules, and who have a right to expect their elected officials to do the same.”

John Edward Hennes, 55, a former member of the Upland Building Appeals Board, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy and making false statements to special agents with the FBI. The indictment in the case alleged that Hennes communicated Pomierski’s extortionate demands to the business owner and collected money on behalf of Pomierski. Hennes entered into consulting agreements with the business owner to disguise the nature of the payments and to protect Pomierski. Hennes is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Phillips June 25, at which time he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The third defendant to be convicted in this case—Jason Roy Crebs, 39—pleaded guilty in April 2011 to aiding and abetting bribery. Crebs, who was co-owner of a business in Rancho Cucamonga called Venture West Capital, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25, at which time he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The fourth defendant charged Anthony Orlando Sanchez, 36, is currently scheduled to go on trial before Judge Phillips on July 24. Sanchez, a co-owner Venture Capital West, is charged with acting as a conduit between the Upland business and Pomierski.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received assistance from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. In 2010, the FBI, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office formed the San Bernardino Joint Corruption Task Force to investigate allegations of corruption in San Bernardino County.

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