When it comes to breaking the law, it appears that who you know and how much money you have to spend could help you skirt the long arm of the law. Or at least that was the case in Orange County (OC), California, up until recently, when county clerk Juan Lopez Jr. was arrested for accepting bribes to forge electronic documents, The Los Angeles Times reports. For the right price, one could have their drunk driving, speeding and red-light running charges in Orange County—all but disappear.
This is a story that you may think came right out of Hollywood, serious corruption involving a low-level paper pusher for a county court. The investigation stems back to 2010, when word of the ‘get out of jail’ scheme was spreading around upper crust circles of car enthusiasts in the “O.C.” A federal indictment unsealed last Wednesday indicates that Lopez closed out more than 1,000 cases that were favorable for the defendant. Once payment was received, Lopez would use the court computer to make it appear that people had, when in fact they had not:
- Served Jail Time
- Had Charges Dismissed
- Paid Fines
With the assistance of 11 middlemen collecting and delivering payoffs, Lopez helped people beat the system, according to the article. As a result, the indictment includes 38-counts of racketeering.
“This defendant allegedly assumed the roles of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to line his pockets in a staggering abuse of his position. Very simply, he compromised the entire justice system in Orange County,” said U.S. Atty. Eileen Decker.
Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California. Based out of Orange County, Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court.
Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower online or by telephone at 714-997-4400.