Court Clerk, Others Accused In Case-Fixing Scheme

SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com/AP) — Federal prosecutors say a former Orange County Superior Court clerk and nine others have been arrested in an alleged bribery scheme in which more than 1,000 cases were illegally fixed without knowledge of prosecutors or judges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the 10 were arrested Wednesday and authorities expect to have two additional defendants in custody soon.

All 12 are named in a 38-count indictment.

Prosecutors say the ex-clerk, 36-year-old Jose Lopez Jr. of Anaheim, was at the center of a sophisticated bribery scheme. He is accused of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars to illegally resolve tickets for people charged with drunken driving or other traffic offenses.

People who paid the bribes were solicited directly by Lopez or by the other defendants.

Prosecutors said Lopez charged up to $8,000 per case.

The scheme came to light in March of last year, when another clerk noticed “irregularities” in a case, prompting her to report the issue to a supervisor, who did more research. Within days, court officials became aware of a large number of cases with irregular minutes, all of which appeared to be entered by a lone employee, Orange County Superior Court officials said in a statement released last June.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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