Ex-Anaheim entrepreneur charged with bribery

The former head of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce has been charged with lying to a mortgage lender amid a growing political scandal in Orange County’s most populous city, federal authorities said Tuesday. .

In a criminal complaint, the FBI has accused former chamber president and chief executive Todd Ament of conspiring with an unnamed political consultant to launder money from the chamber through the public relations firm of the consultant to Ament’s personal bank account.

The money, a loan to Ament from the political consultant, was used to influence a financial institution’s decision to loan Ament money to buy a five-bedroom, $1.5 million residence in Big Bear City. , according to the complaint.

The PR firm gave Ament $205,000, making it appear he had enough cash on hand to secure the loan, according to the FBI.

Ament is also accused in the lawsuit of making a $200,000 payment directly to the seller of the home to reduce his property taxes and the cost of commission for the seller’s real estate agent.

Ament was scheduled to appear in federal court in Santa Ana on Tuesday for his first bail hearing.

The case against Ament was announced a day after the public disclosure of an FBI affidavit showing that Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu is under public corruption investigation and the state’s attorney . General Rob Bonta said it was not yet clear whether the federal investigation could make the sale of Angel Stadium illegal.

In a statement announcing the charge against Ament, federal prosecutors described him and the political consultant as leaders of a small group of Anaheim officials, consultants and business leaders. Ament and the consultant described the group as a “family” or a “cabal,” and it met regularly at “retreats” to exert influence on Anaheim’s government, prosecutors said.

This is a developing story.

Los Angeles Times

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