A Beaumont city councilmember pleaded guilty today, Sept. 28, 2017, to one count of bribery and one count of perjury for crimes he committed while serving on the city council.
Mark Anthony Orozco, 40, of Beaumont, entered the pleas before Judge Samuel Diaz at the Hall of Justice in Riverside. Orozco is scheduled to be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 24, 2017.
Orozco is expected to be sentenced to three years of formal probation and six months of alternative sentencing (in this case home confinement). He also will be ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and must immediately resign from the Beaumont City Council following his sentencing. A conviction of bribery will result in a lifetime bar on holding public office for Orozco.
The bribery conviction results from a grand jury indictment from May of this year charging Orozco with soliciting a bribe from a developer, Pardee Homes. Due to the death of former Councilmember Jeff Fox in January 2016, the Beaumont City Council had to appoint a replacement. Orozco solicited a bribe of $15,000 from individuals at Pardee Homes. In exchange, Orozco promised he would vote for the pro-development replacement candidate that they favored. The individuals at Pardee Homes refused to pay the bribe to Orozco and instead properly reported the crime to the DA’s Office.
The perjury count stems from a new case filed in court today, RIF1770226. Based on additional investigation, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office investigators discovered that Orozco inappropriately controlled the “Move Beaumont Forward PAC” and used it to support candidates for the November 2016 Beaumont City Council election. One of those candidates was Nancy Carroll who was successfully elected.
In December 2016, the City Council voted for the new mayor. Carroll voted for Councilmember Lloyd White and not for Orozco for the mayor position, which angered Orozco. He told the treasurer of Move Beaumont Forward he was going to retaliate for Carroll’s vote and ordered the treasurer to falsify the PAC’s Form 460. The treasurer was ordered to change the independent expenditures (purchase of political signs) for the Carroll campaign listed on the PAC’s Form 460 to monetary contributions (cash donation).
Carroll’s campaign would not have had to report independent expenditures but would have had to claim any monetary contributions, making this a significant change. After that falsification was made at Orozco’s direction, emails circulated accusing Carroll of lying on her campaign disclosure forms resulting in the Fair Political Practices Commission to receive a complaint against her.
The cases against Orozco were prosecuted by Deputy DAs Amy Barajas and Emily Hanks of the DA’s Public Integrity Team.