Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Removing my local cluenessness - Anthony Orlando Sanchez doesn't sound "gracious"

It's one thing to be indicted on various criminal charges. It's another thing to be, for all intents and purposes, a fugitive.

No, not the ex-mayor of Upland. This has to do with an alleged co-conspirator. Sandra Emerson links to her own article, which reads (in part):

Anthony Orlando Sanchez, who was charged on Feb. 1 by the U.S. District Attorney's office in Riverside, failed to appear at his arraignment Tuesday in federal court in Riverside.

This was Sanchez' third failure to appear.

More here.

Sanchez is the agent of Venture West Capital of Rancho Cucamonga, which has been around since 2007. When the Upland story initially broke in mid 2010, Emerson and Wendy Leung documented what was being sought from Sanchez:

The FBI and IRS investigation that closed City Hall for an entire day Thursday is a far-reaching one that involves not only the mayor but a number of businesses and business owners in the region.

According to an FBI search warrant served to Mayor John Pomierski on Thursday to support the seizure of his cell phone, investigators were seeking records related to a number of businesses and people including Chronic Cantina, JH Builders, Upland Market Place and many others.

The records – including e-mails, text messages and address lists – are described as evidence of violations, including conspiracy, extortion, bribery, fraud, money laundering and racketeering, according to the search warrant....

A team of more than 40 FBI and IRS agents on Thursday seized boxes of evidence at four locations – City Hall, Pomierski’s home, JH Builders and Statewide Bancorp....

Statewide Bancorp, also known as Venture West Capital, is a mortgage company at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga....

Investigators also seized Pomierski’s cell phone and were specifically looking for any information on businesses Best Value Grocery, Upland Market Place, The Cellar, Chronic Cantina, Gilligan’s, Rockin’ Roadhouse, Venture West Capital, JRC Group, JH Builders, Southern Wine & Spirits and 2nd Avenue Saloon and Sports Bar.

(At the time, some of these businesses were cooperating with the FBI, and I don't think that all of them were accused of wrongdoing. However, I haven't been following this story.)

Investigators are also seeking evidence from Pomierski’s cell phone related to Daniel Hernandez, Hossein Moalej, Anthony Sanchez, Jason Crebs, John Hennes, Christopher Leggio, Thomas Smith, Robert Mills, Scott Schaller, Stephen Wade, Dan Biello and James (Scott) Hendrix....

Sanchez and Smith have both filed an application with the city to open Gilligan’s and Rockin’ Roadhouse.

Later, the precise nature of Sanchez's alleged involvement was clarified:

According to the indictment, [former mayor] Pomierski demanded and received money from the owners of two Upland businesses in exchange for the performance of official acts in connection with city government business and transactions.

The indictment alleges that [municipal board appointee John] Hennes and two others involved in the scheme - Jason Crebs and Anthony Sanchez - communicated Pomierski's extortion demands to the business owners and collected money on behalf of Pomierski.

Hennes and the two other co-conspirators entered into consulting agreements with the business owners to disguise the nature of the payments and to protect Pomierski, according to the indictment.

Additional information is provided in the Department of Justice press release.

Pomierski, Hennes, and Crebs have appeared in court, but as of Monday Sanchez had not.

Sanchez's public LinkedIn profile is here. At the time that I accessed it, Sanchez had 0 connections. I don't know if he had connections before all of the unpleasantness came out.

But all in all, this is quite a black eye for the city with the official motto "City of Gracious Living." A blog for mobile home park residents offered some thoughts when the FBI and IRS began their search:

In past posts I have pointed out that the City of Upland's motto is "The City of Gracious Living" and that to many of the City's residents, this motto appears only to apply to homeless animals and wealthy developers. Well recent news indicates that the City of Upland has had a hard fall from grace and that my feelings about wealthy developers may not be too far off base.