Ex-California city official gets 5 years in corruption case

October 4, 2022 GMT

ADELANTO, Calif. (AP) — A former city council member in Southern California was sentenced to five years in prison for taking a $10,000 bribe to help open a cannabis business and also hiring someone to burn down his restaurant for an insurance payout, prosecutors said.

Jermaine Wright, who served on the city council and was mayor pro tem of Adelanto in San Bernardino County, was convicted in June of bribery and attempted arson, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Wright, a 46-year-old Riverside resident, was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal.

Wright was arrested in 2017 and charged with soliciting and accepting a bribe from an FBI agent posing as someone who wanted help regarding a marijuana transportation business.

He also was charged with paying another undercover FBI agent $1,500 to set fire to his restaurant, Fat Boyz Grill, to collect insurance money.

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Wright said he wanted the damage at his restaurant to be “total,” according to a pre-sentencing report. He told the undercover agent that the building’s landlord would be turning off the water on an upcoming weekend, leaving the sprinkler system useless, the report stated.

David Kaloyanides, Wright’s attorney, told the Los Angeles Times that he and his client were pleased the judge went with their request for a five-year sentence, the minimum allowed by statute.