California Councilman Found Guilty of Stealing from Assessor’s Office, Cost Taxpayers $102 Million

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Rex Gutierrez, right, with lawyer James Reiss. He Cost Taxpayers $102 Million

A Rancho Cucamonga, California city councilman has been found guilty of four counts of grand theft, conspiracy and filing a fraudulent claim, and ordered to resign from his office immediately. Prosecutors said that Rex Guitierrez, 50, submitted $147,000 in bogus pay and expense reports during the period 2007 through 2009, while he was employed by the Bernardino County Assessor’s office. The politician is one of six former country assessor employees charged with criminal offenses.

Prosecutors also claimed that Guitierrez was involved in larger corruption scheme to use the assessor’s office as a personal political operation while working as an aide to former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus. A corruption probe implicated a local developer, Colonial Properties, LP, who the county awarded a $102 million settlement in 2006, stemming from a dispute over a 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland, California.  Prosecutors claim that the settlement was “extorted and stolen” from taxpayers, and are seeking to recover the funds.

Guitierrez is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15. Notwithstanding the criminal conviction, Guitierrez is seeking re-election to the Rancho Cucamonga City Council on the November 2 ballot.

Daily Press, The Press Enterprise

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