- Reporters Desk
Former Los Angeles Port Police Chief Pleads Guilty
SAN PEDRO – The former police chief for the Port of Los Angeles pleaded guilty, on Feb. 3, to federal charges of tax evasion and making false statements to FBI agents who were investigating his acceptance of a bribe in connection with the development of a social networking program that would become the official smartphone app for the port and would then be marketed to other law enforcement agencies.
Ronald Jerome Boyd, 58, of Torrance, pleaded guilty to three offenses and as a result faces a statutory maximum prison term of 11 years in federal prison.
Boyd pleaded guilty on the day he was scheduled to go to trial on a 16-count indictment that was returned by a grand jury last year.
Boyd pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about a scheme related to a smartphone app called Portwatch, which was developed to provide information to the public and to allow citizens to report criminal activity at the port.
In 2011, Boyd and two business partners formed BDB Digital Communications, a company that entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with the company developing Portwatch. The parties involved with BDB intended to generate revenues by marketing and selling a similar app – called Metrowatch – to other government agencies. Boyd was set to receive approximately 13.33 percent of all gross revenues generated by the sale of the Metrowatch application.
According to the indictment in this case, Boyd received his financial interest in return for guaranteeing that the Portwatch contract would be awarded to the company. Prosecutors and the defense have agreed to submit evidence regarding the bribery arrangement to Judge Klausner at sentencing.
Boyd pleaded guilty today to making false statements to special agents with the FBI during an interview in October 2014. Boyd admitted that he lied to the investigators when he denied having any financial interest in Metrowatch or having engaged in a conflict of interest.
“Public officials who use their position of leadership for unlawful personal gain erode the public’s trust in government,” said David Bowdich, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Law enforcement officials at all levels have an obligation to uphold the law and remain loyal to the citizens they swore to serve.”
Boyd also pleaded guilty to tax evasion in relation to his personal income tax return for 2011. In his plea agreement, Boyd admitted receiving income from a security business he operated, At Close Range. The income came from the owner of a company doing business with the Port, American Guard Services, and Boyd admitted that he failed to report that income on his personal income tax returns for years 2007 through 2011.
Additionally, Boyd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of failing to file a 2011 tax return for At Close Range. While he pleaded guilty to one only count of failing to file a tax return for At Close Range, Boyd admitted in his plea agreement that he failed to file tax returns for the business for years 2007 through 2011.
The estimated loss of tax revenue to the Internal Revenue Service for Boyd’s conduct was more than $300,000.
The scheduled sentence hearing is for July 25.
‘Document Mill’ Operator Arrested
SAN PEDRO —A Porter Ranch man who allegedly operated a “document mill” in Sylmar that produced fake identifications arrested, Feb. 3, on federal charges of illegally manufacturing the counterfeit documents. The counterfeit documents included the credentials used to access secure areas of the Port of Los Angeles.
Brian Allen Dunmore, 54, was arrested Wednesday by special agents with the Coast Guard Investigative Services, which is involved in an ongoing investigation into document mills that manufacture fraudulent identification. Transportation Worker Identification Credentials, for example, are needed to access secure areas of the Port of Los Angeles.
Dunmore was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint filed on Feb. 1 that charges him with one count of unlawfully possessing and producing an authentication feature. At his initial court appearance Feb. 3, Dunmore was ordered detained (held without bond), in part because he is a previously convicted felon who had a cache of firearms at his Porter Ranch residence.
Special agents with the Coast Guard Investigative Services arrested a second man, Feb. 4. The second man was allegedly involved in the trafficking of counterfeit documents. A man charged in a second criminal complaint under the name Ricardo Gama-Diaz, also known as “Coy,” appeared in federal court Feb. 4. He said his true name was Ricardo Rios-Gama.
Rios-Gama, 51, who resides in South Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, is charged with producing a false identification document. An affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Rios-Gama sold undercover agents counterfeit identification documents – including bogus Transportation Worker Identification Credentials, California driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and “green cards” – on three occasions.
Dunmore operated a document mill in Sylmar, according to an affidavit filed in his case. Dunmore allegedly agreed to sell to undercover agents a computer program, printer, and card stock with microchips to produce and manufacture Transportation Worker Identification Credentials cards and other government identification documents, such as Social Security cards, Mexican identification cards, and California driver’s licenses. According to the case affidavit, Dunmore produced a Transportation Worker Identification Credentials card and Mexican identification card for the agents.
A Transportation Worker Identification Credentials is a worker identification card issued by the Transportation Security Administration. Those who are issued Transportation Worker Identification Credentials undergo a security background check. Because some people are ineligible to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credentials, due to a lack of immigration status or another reason, a black market for these documents has developed.
In conjunction with Dunmore’s arrest, agents executed a search warrant at his residence and recovered equipment that appeared to be used to create false identifications. The agents also recovered as a small arsenal of weapons and ammunition, including a fully-automatic Tec-9, two AR-15 rifles with over 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and an AK-47. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting with this part of the investigation. At the court hearing on Wednesday, federal prosecutors successfully argued that Dunmore posed a danger to the community because he was a felon illegally in possession of a host of weapons. Eleven of the guns were unregistered and among the thousands of rounds of ammunition, agents recovered at least 15 high capacity magazines.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
A preliminary hearing for Feb. 17 and an arraignment Feb. 23 were scheduled.
At his court hearing yesterday, Rios-Gama was ordered freed on a $10,000 bond, but he will be subject to electronic monitoring. Rios-Gama was ordered back to federal court on Feb. 25 for a preliminary hearing and on March 2 for an arraignment.
If they are convicted of the charges against them, each defendant would face a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.
Robbery Suspect Arrested, Charged
LONG BEACH — Multiple felony charges were filed, Feb. 8, against 29-year-old Long Beach resident James Edward Harris for his involvement in multiple commercial robberies.
Harris is suspected of entering a convenience store, Jan. 14, in the 4200 block of Long Beach Boulevard. The suspect allegedly approached the counter, brandished a sharp object and demanded money from the cashier. The suspect fled the location with cash.
On January 20, a suspect entered the same convenience store, simulated he had a weapon, demanded money and other items from the clerk, and quickly fled with the property.
While detectives were investigating the two robberies, they learned that the suspect might be involved in another robbery. On February 3, the suspect entered the same convenience store, simulated he had a weapon, demanded money and other items from the clerk then fled on foot.
No employees were injured during any of the robberies.
After an extensive investigation, detectives found and arrested Harris on Feb. 4. Detectives also served a search warrant, at a residence in the 100 block of East 49th Street, and recovered evidence related to the robberies.
On Monday, February 8, 2016, the case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration. Defendant Harris was charged with three counts of second-degree robbery. He is being held in Los Angeles County Jail with bail set at $270,000.
Anyone who may be a witness or has information related to these incidents is asked to call (562) 570-7464 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.
Woman Dies on the Street
LONG BEACH — On Feb. 3, 2016, at about 10:46 p.m., Long Beach Police were dispatched to the area of Pacific Coast Highway and Loma Avenue regarding a traffic collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian. The incident resulted in the death of a woman.
The preliminary investigation revealed Signal Hill Police saw a person lying in the unmarked crosswalk of Loma Avenue. As the officers attempted to return to the area to check the person, they heard a collision and found a 2005 Honda Element collided with the individual who was lying in the roadway. Long Beach Fire Department responded and determined the woman dead at the scene.
At the time of the collision, the driver, a 32-year-old resident of Long Beach, was traveling westbound on Pacific Coast Highway and made a left turn onto southbound Loma Avenue. He immediately stopped after the collision and remained at the scene.
The woman was dressed in dark clothing and had no identification on her person or in her belongings. It is unclear why the woman was in the roadway. The Los Angeles County Coroner will determine the cause of death and positive identification, as well as notify next of kin.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call (562) 570-7358 or visit www.LACrimeStoppers.org.
Ntuk Appointed to the LBCCD Personnel Commission
LONG BEACH —Uduak-Joe Ntuk was been appointed to the Long Beach Community College District Personnel Commission on Feb. 8.
The swearing-in and oath of office was conducted by 8th District Long Beach City Council Member Al Austin. Commissioner Ntuk is the Classified Employee’s Union appointee, appointed by the Long Beach Council of Classified Employees – American Federation of Teachers, Local 6108. Ntuk is the first African American to serve on the LBCCD Personnel Commission.
The personnel commission administrates the merit system of equal opportunity employment as prescribed by the statues of the California Education Code. The functions of the office include: job classification and compensation, recruitment and assessment, and adjudication of disciplinary and examination appeals. These functions are performed under the authority and oversight of a three-member personnel commission.
Uduak-Joe Ntuk is a petroleum engineer for the Long Beach. He volunteers as a mentor for Long Beach City College students, serves on the Industry Advisory Board for the Center for Engineering Diversity at the University of Southern California and is on the Board of Directors of Leadership Long Beach.
Human Remains Found Behind a Wall in Lomita
LOMITA — On Feb. 5, Homicide Bureau Lieutenant Steve Jauch will discuss the circumstances surrounding the arrest made in connection to the body found behind a wall in a residence in Lomita, on July 1, 2015. The discussion will take place at the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles. The victim was identified as 37-year-old Raven Campbell and was reported missing in July 2009 from her residence in the 26800 block of Western Avenue in unincorporated Lomita.
On Feb. 3, 2016, deputies arrested Randolph Garbutt, 43, for a traffic warrant. He shared the Western Avenue residence with Campbell at the time of her disappearance. After being released on the warrant, he was booked at the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station on February 4, 2016, for the murder of Raven Campbell.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call (323) 890-5500 or visit http://lacrimestoppers.org.
Garcetti Announces Press Secretary
LOS ANGELES — On Feb. 3, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the appointment of Carl Marziali, former assistant vice president for media and public relations at the University of Southern California, to the position of press secretary. Marziali started his new position on Feb. 8.
Marziali brings 25 years of experience in media relations and journalism, including 11 years in senior positions at USC.
As an assistant vice president at USC, Marziali led media relations strategy and execution for advocacy campaigns, including successful efforts to win approval for the development of USC Village and a new master lease for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
In his most recent position, and previously as director of research communications, Marziali led efforts to promote USC research and policy of wide societal impact — from landmark studies linking clean air regulation to improved health in children, to innovations in digital technology that are transforming entertainment, health care and education. Marziali’s media relations and social media teams have been nationally recognized for their success in translating and publicizing university research.
Marziali began his journalism career as a city hall reporter near Vancouver, British Columbia and went on to run a feature writing and media relations consulting practice in Chicago for 10 years. He holds master’s degrees in Mathematics and English Literature from the University of Chicago.
Speaker Atkins Appoints Takvorian to CARB
SACRAMENTO — On Feb. 4, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins announced the appointment of environmental justice leader Diane Takvorian to the California Air Resources Board. Under the leadership of Speaker Atkins and Sen. Fran Pavley, Assembly Bill 1288 was signed into law this past year which adds two new seats to the Air Resources Board for representatives who work directly with communities vulnerable to climate and air pollution. Diane Takvorian is a co-founder and steering committee member of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, one of the strongest supporters of AB 1288 who helped usher the bill into law this past year.
The new Air Resource Board seats ensure that environmental justice communities are represented at the highest levels of decision-making. The representatives, who must work directly with environmental justice communities, will ensure the Air Resources Board performs more equitably and responds more effectively to issues in communities overburdened by pollution. Environmental justice communities have been at the front lines of the crisis, and we are on the forefront of the solutions — we are taking our place at the highest levels of decision-making on climate.