Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Former City Attorney, Robert Tafoya, Suspected of Orchestrating Bribe Payment Scheme to City Public Officials

Former City Attorney of Baldwin Park, Robert Tafoya, is suspected of orchestrating bribe payments of at least $70,000 to former city council member, Ricardo Pacheco. Yesterday, the FBI arrested former Compton City Council Member, Isaac Galvan, who was also being held in prison for charges of election fraud. Allegedly, Galvin was the middle man to bribe Pacheco with $70,000 of Yichang Bai's money. Bai bribed Pacheco so that Pacheco could vote for him and his company to receive a license to sell marijuana in the City. Bai was also arrested by the FBI. You can read the details of the arrest from the Department of Justice here.

According to Roger Hernandez, former California Assemblyman, around December of 2018, Galvan learned how to conceal the bribe payments from Tafoya. Galvan would sit in Tafoya's office, and Tafoya would mastermind the scheme in order to conceal the bribe payments to Pacheco. Tafoya then directed Glavan on what to do.

The DOJ reports that one way this would be done is as follows. "Bai collected checks from third parties who owed him money and then – at Galvan’s direction – gave Galvan the checks with blank payee lines. Galvan then gave the checks to Pacheco, who then arranged for them to be cashed, either by him or third parties."

Hernandez said that Galvan and Tafoya would also wine and dine clients, like Bai, at luxury steak restaurants like Morton's. On average, the cost of dinner for one person at Morton's is a $120. 

Pacheco, who has already pled guilty to bribery, has had his sentencing date continued by 9 months. The continuance suggests that the FBI has increased their list of suspects. The previous Department of Justice press release accused Council Member Monica Garcia and former Mayor Manuel Lozano of also being involved in the bribery scheme. It appears that more arrests will be coming soon.

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