A former Bellflower high school football star who helped his girlfriend stage a robbery at the bank where she worked was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation and ordered to pay restitution.
Chandler Leniu, 22, pleaded guilty in May in Los Angeles to a federal conspiracy charge.
“This is a young man of outstanding character who made a horrible mistake,” defense attorney Charles C. Brown told the court in downtown Los Angeles.
Nearly $53,000 was stolen from Opus Bank in Torrance Oct. 2, 2017.
Leniu’s then-girlfriend, Marlene Wickham, 23, also of Long Beach — who worked as a teller at the bank — previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June to probation. She was ordered by U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin to pay a share of $20,000 in restitution to the bank.
Prosecutors said that $32,470 has been recovered and returned. Leniu will be jointly liable with Wickham for the $20,000 restitution, the judge said.
Leniu admitted that he passed a note to Wickham at her teller station demanding money and then fled with the cash. It was later determined that the teller was actually Leniu’s girlfriend.
A former Washington State University football player who had starred at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Leniu apologized to the court, telling the judge he was “looking for the easy way out — and I took it.”