City of Industry, CA. – Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Friday that four men have been charged in connection with the embezzlement and misappropriation of millions of dollars that were supposed to be used to study whether a solar farm was suitable on land to be purchased by the City of Industry.
“Public corruption erodes the trust of our citizenry and hampers progress,” District Attorney Gascón said. “There is no place for it in Los Angeles County.”
William Barkett, Anthony Bouza, Paul Jule Philips and Frank Hill were charged in a 12-count felony complaint.
Barkett faces one count each of misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, money laundering and grand theft. Bouza faces eight counts of having a financial interest in a contract or purchase made in an official capacity and one count of misappropriation of public funds. Philips faces one count of misappropriation of public funds, while Hill faces two counts of having a financial interest in a contract or purchase made in an official capacity.
Between 2016 and 2018, the City of Industry entered into a land lease agreement with San Gabriel Valley Water and Power LLC to examine a possible solar farm. As part of the deal, the city agreed to advance certain costs that had to be repaid if construction began on a solar farm.
Philips, the city’s former city manager and Bouza, an attorney hired by the city and a private contractor who allegedly helped draft an agreement, handled the funds.
During that time, roughly $20 million in public funds was allegedly routed to an account controlled by Barkett, who owned SGVWP.
While some of the money was paid to other vendors, Barkett is accused of spending about $8.3 million on personal items. He also allegedly falsified or altered invoices to inflate the amount.
Bouza and Hill, also a private contractor who was retained by the city and a former state assemblymember, are accused of having a financial conflict of interest when they allegedly drafted or influenced contracts with the city.
A second person was arrested on Tuesday in connection to the death of a 5-year-old Dallas boy.
On Monday, 5-year-old Zamaurian Kizzee was found dead in his home located in the 2800 block of Silkwood Street. The little boy showed signs of prolonged physical abuse.
Hours after Dallas police discovered the boy dead, his mother, Tiffany Williams, 26, was arrested and charged with Injury to a Child/Serious Bodily Injury.
Williams admitted to hitting her son with a closed fist the day of his death. She also admitted that he was physically abused daily.
The following day, 74-year-old Ulysses Kizzee was also arrested. He is charged with Injury to a Child/Serious Bodily Injury by Omission, a first-degree felony.
The Dallas Police Department has not confirmed exactly how Kizzee is related to the little boy. However, a domestic disturbance incident filed with DPD earlier this year disclosed that Ulysses Kizzee and Tiffany Williams have been in a relationship for 9 years.
A 3-month-old, 1-year-old, 3-year-old, 6-year-old, and 7-year-old, have been removed from the home. Child Protective Services say there is a history with the family.
R & B singer R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday for racketeering and sex trafficking.
U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly handed down the sentence after long deliberation and testimony from several of Kelly’s victims.
Robert Sylvester Kelly’s attorneys argued that he should only get 10 years in prison but the federal prosecutors recommended he be sentenced to more than 25 years.
During the trial several victims came together and spoke out about the sexual abuse and pain they endured throughout the years.
One victim who was identified as Jane Doe said Kelly made her perform sexual acts.
Attorneys also brought up the late Aaliyah and how R. Kelli married her while she was 15.
“I felt special, because someone who was special to the world was interested in me,” she said, adding, “I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life.”
As judge Donnelly handed down the singers sentencing the victims stood together, held hands and prayed. The judge also put in consideration Kelly’s childhood involving sexual assault, poverty and violence.
Back in 2019 Kelly was arrested and accused of leading an organization where he would recruit underage women and subject them to sex crimes.
Kelly was charged with bribery, kidnapping, forced labor, sexual exploitation of a child, sexual trafficking across state lines and racketeering involving six victims. He was also accused of breaking the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to take anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose“.
During testimony Kelly listened to all his accusers and did not take the stand during his trial.