Two former Cudahy city leaders agreed today to plead guilty to federal extortion and bribery charges that stem from allegations they took cash bribes from the owner of a medical marijuana store.
In plea agreements provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, former Mayor David Silva, 61, and former acting city manager Angel Perales, 43, detail voter fraud and bribery in the town of 25,000 people.
Silva admitted to accepting bribes from multiple people, including $50,000 from a developer who wanted to buy city-owned land, according to the statement in his plea agreement. In exchange for the bribe, the developer’s deal would be discounted by $800,000.
Silva resigned from office July 3.
Cudahy’s former acting city manager, Angel Perales, 43, admitted to participating in election fraud during the 2007 municipal election, according to his statement to authorities. Perales, who also ran Code Enforcement, and other city officials would routinely toss out absentee ballots cast for their opponents. The same routine was repeated in 2009, according to authorities. Prior to 2007, Perales had family members who did not live in Cudahy register to vote in the city’s election.
Perales also admitted to taking bribes from contractors working with the city. He routinely obtained narcotic pain medications for other city employees, including a former Cudahy city official identified as G.P., according to his plea agreement.
Silva and Perales were arrested on June 22 along with Cudahy Councilman Osvaldo Conde, 50. The three allegedly received $5,000 each from an FBI informant Feb. 28. Conde later received an additional $2,000. According to conversations that were recorded by the informant, the men explained they needed cash payments in exchange for supporting a medical marijuana dispensary permit.
Federal prosecutors described Conde as the group’s ringleader. The plea agreements from Perales and Silva detail how Conde routinely received bribes from people doing business with the city. Conde and another city official, identified as M.P., also owned a massage parlor that offered illicit sexual favors, according to federal authorities. On at least one occasion, Perales received the heads up on a police raid and informed an unidentified Cudahy city official who was known to frequent the business.
Arraignment for the three men is scheduled for July 19 in U.S. District Court. At that time, additional documents will be filed against Conde, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is currently facing one count of bribery for allegedly accepting $7,000 in bribes from the informant.
Silva and Perales face 30 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine. They will also be required to repay the bribes they took from the FBI informant.
This post has been updated.