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Former Mayor Agrees to Plead Guilty to Federal Bribery Charges for Taking More Than $10,000

LOS ANGELES—The former mayor of the City of Rosemead was charged today in federal court with soliciting and accepting bribes from a real estate developer in exchange for city approval of a development project.

John Tran, 36, of Rosemead, was named in a criminal information filed this morning. In a plea agreement also filed in United States District Court, Tran has agreed to plead guilty to the felony offense.

According to the plea agreement, a property developer, who is called a cooperating informant (CI) because of information provided to the FBI, made a series of payments to Tran, who first approached the developer at Rosemead City Hall. The developer made cash payments totaling $7,000 in 2005 and 2006, and the developer’s business partner wrote a $3,200 check to Tran in 2007.

“During the time that the CI made payments to defendant, the CI’s planning and building proofs were pending approval before the City,” according to the statement of facts in Tran’s plea agreement. Tran “occasionally informed the CI that the CI’s project was ‘there,’ and that he was ‘not going anywhere.’ Based on the CI’s conversations with defendant, the CI believed that the CI would have to accede to defendant’s bribe demands if the CI wanted the project approved, and that the CI’s project would not be approved if the CI refused to pay defendant.”

After the payments were made, Tran was voted out of office, and the city never approved the project.

Tran was elected to the Rosemead City Council in 2005 and was Mayor of Rosemead from 2007 to 2009.

The charge of bribery carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Tran is expected to make his initial federal court appearance in this case on February 21.

The case against Tran was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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