Feds: Parking lots owner swindled Los Angeles VA out of $11M
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who operated parking lots for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles defrauded the agency out of $11 million, using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included multi-million-dollar condos, several luxury cars and a speedboat, authorities alleged Wednesday.
Richard Scott, 58, owner of Westside Service LLC, kept two sets of books for 15 years, stashing millions in unreported cash and millions more in over-reported expenses, a U.S. attorney’s statement said.
Scott was arrested on Wednesday in Santa Monica. He is not scheduled to enter a plea until Nov. 30. An after-hours message seeking comment from his attorney, Michael Proctor, wasn’t immediately returned.
Court papers say Scott used the wealth he gathered to buy three $2.5 million condominiums in Santa Monica, a racing boat in Miami, and luxury and vintage cars that include Ferraris, Corvettes, high-end Mercedes-Benzes and a Shelby Super Snake Mustang. Federal authorities are now moving to seize those assets.
Scott charged the VA for extensive travel, though all his business took place in the same area of Los Angeles, an FBI agent said in an affidavit of more than 100 pages outlining the alleged fraud.
Scott is also charged with bribing the VA official who granted his parking contracts for years starting in 2003. The official abruptly retired in 2014 when confronted by federal agents.
“He was definitely bribing me and I was definitely looking the other way,” the official said in the affidavit. The official was not identified and it’s not clear whether he is also facing charges.
Scott underreported revenue by at least $4.6 million and over-reported expenses by at least $8.2 million, court papers say.
The vast VA parking lots are on prime real estate in West Los Angeles and are also used for UCLA basketball games and other events. Federal agents say Scott also pocketed an undetermined amount from those events that went unreported.