A federal judge sentenced former Port of Los Angeles Chief of Police Ronald Boyd to two years in federal prison. Boyd pled guilty on Feb. 3 to federal charges of tax evasion and making a false statement to FBI Agents, officials announced Tuesday.
The FBI was investigating his acceptance of a bribe in connection with the development of an official smart phone app to be marketed to other law enforcement agencies, according to authorities.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner also ordered Ronald Jerome Boyd, 58, of Torrance,to pay $305,054 in restitution, officials said.
Boyd pleaded guilty on the day he was scheduled to go to trial on a 16-count indictment that was returned by a grand jury last year.
“It’s of paramount importance that public officials, particularly those in law enforcement, maintain the standards of honesty and trust they owe to the public,” said Lawrence Middleton, the Chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “The sentence imposed by the court in this case demonstrates that those who betray such trust shall be met with serious consequences.”
Boyd admitted to lying to federal investigators about a scheme related to a smartphone app called Portwatch, which was developed to provide information to the public and to allow citizens to report criminal activity at the port, according to authorities.
The indictment accused Boyd of corruption, lying to FBI agents, failing to file federal corporate tax returns for a private security company he created, and tax evasion.
In 2011, Boyd and two business partners formed BDB Digital Communications, a company that entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with the unnamed company developing Portwatch.
The parties involved with BDB intended to generate revenues by marketing and selling a similar app – called Metrowatch – to other government agencies.
“Under the terms of this agreement, defendant Boyd would receive approximately 13.33 percent of all gross revenues generated by the sale of the Metrowatch application throughout the United States,” according to the indictment.
The revenue-sharing agreement was contingent upon Boyd’s assistance in securing the Portwatch contract for the unnamed company, the indictment stated.
Over the course of a year beginning in October 2011, Boyd took steps to benefit the unnamed company with respect to the Portwatch contract.
The indictment alleges that his actions included the following things:
- Hosting a private meeting with the unnamed company for the purpose of disclosing confidential information
- Meeting with Los Angeles officials that included the city attorney and the mayor
- Editing the scope of work for the Portwatch contract so that he could personally monitor the Portwatch app’s development
- Urging the Port to expedite a press release to announce the implementation of the Portwatch app.
The indictment also states that Boyd, who was interviewed by special agents with the FBI last October, lied to the investigators when he denied having any financial interest in Metrowatch.
Boyd falsely stated that BDB was created to sell body armor, and that he was unaware of the revenue-sharing agreement between the unnamed company and BDB, according to the indictment.
“The citizens of Los Angeles must be able to trust that government officials will make decisions based on the needs of the community, rather than using their position of authority to serve their own best interest,” said Deirdre Fike, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI and our partners will continue to work on restoring that trust by addressing corruption by public officials.”
Boyd also pleaded guilty to tax evasion in relation to his personal income tax return for 2011.
In his plea agreement, Boyd admitted receiving income from a security business he operated, At Close Range.
The income came from the owner of a company doing business with the Port, American Guard Services, and Boyd admitted that he failed to report that income on his personal income tax returns for years 2007 through 2011.
Additionally, Boyd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of failing to file a 2011 tax return for At Close Range. While he pleaded guilty to one only count of failing to file a tax return for At Close Range, Boyd admitted in his plea agreement that he failed to file tax returns for the business for years 2007 through 2011.
The estimated loss of tax revenue to the Internal Revenue Service for Boyd’s conduct was more than $300,000.
“While occupying a position of trust in the community, Mr. Boyd actively concealed his outside business interests by not disclosing certain income he received on his federal income tax returns,” stated Anthony J. Orlando, Acting Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to vigorously pursue those who unjustly enrich themselves in violation of their fiduciary duties.”
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