Former Los Angeles city commissioner Leland Wong was sentenced October 10th to five years in state prison after he was convicted following a joint state-federal probe into allegations of “pay to play” by some officials in the administration of former Mayor James Hahn.
Wong, who served on the City of Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners and Department of Water and Power Commission under Hahn, was convicted in July of 14 felony charges, including bribery, conflict of interest and other crimes, county district attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson sentenced Wong after denying a defense motion for a new trial and denying probation.
“This is graft and corruption, pure and simple,” Johnson said. “He did everything he could to cover up the bribe.”
Johnson also ordered Wong to pay $138,731 in restitution and fines, including $16,724 to the Franchise Tax Board for failure to pay taxes. The judge also barred the defendant from ever holding public office.
Deputy district attorneys Max Huntsman and Jonlyn Callahan of the Public Integrity Division, who tried the case, said they were pleased with the sentence.
The charges against Wong stemmed from his service as a member of the Board of Airport Commissioners and Water and Power Commission between 2002 and 2004, Robison said.
The grand theft by embezzlement counts on which he was convicted stemmed from his employment at Kaiser-Permanente.
The charges cover a period between 2000 and 2003, when another Kaiser-Permanente employee uncovered the activities, Robison said.
Wong was also convicted of filing false state tax returns in 2003, 2004 and 2005.