SFS councilman admits taking bribes

SANTA FE SPRINGS - A Santa Fe Springs councilman agreed last week to plead guilty to bribery charges after he admitted to accepting cash from a person trying to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the city, federal authorities said.Joseph Serrano Sr., 62, allegedly accepted $11,500 in bribes in 2010 and 2011, when he was mayor. According to a plea deal filed in U.S. District Court this morning, Serrano admitted he asked the dispensary owner for cash in exchange for "information about the city's plans to regulate marijuana dispensaries." The store owner gave Serrano a $1,500 check and created paperwork to make it appear the payment was a loan. The store owner then contacted the FBI and became an informant. Serrano accepted several more payments and at one point asked for $1,600 per month, the amount of his monthly mortgage. In the plea agreement, Serrano admits to taking $11,500 in bribes. According to the plea deal, prosecutors recommended three years in prison, but a U.S. District Court judge will decide the actual sentence. Serrano is scheduled to be arraigned July 12.

********** Published: July 05, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 12