Beaumont City Councilman Mark Orozco has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of soliciting a bribe and perjury, the Riverside County District Attorney’s office announced Friday.
Orozco, 40, was indicted Thursday on one count of soliciting a bribe and nine counts of perjury for falsely identifying campaign funds on his disclosure document — the Fair Political Practices Commission Form 460.
Orozco, who faces a maximum of 13 years in state prison if convicted on all counts, is expected to surrender to authorities on May 25 in Riverside criminal court, with bail set at $25,000.
The indictment comes after the city made headlines for corruption, with seven city officials, including the former city manager, city attorney and police chief, charged for the alleged misappropriation of almost $43 million.
However, Orozco’s indictment is unrelated to that case, according to District Attorney spokesman John Hall, who said prosecutors began investigating Orozco following a complaint made by the city of Beaumont.
A statement issued Friday by the city of Beaumont stated the city’s complaint to the D.A.’s office came from “verbal allegations from credible sources outside the organization.”
“As elected officials, we swear solemn oaths to uphold the laws of our land,” Beaumont Mayor Lloyd White said. “We also swear to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community in which we serve. If the City ever receives a credible complaint from a reliable source about any of our elected or appointed officials, we will report it immediately to the appropriate agency. We have zero tolerance for any type of criminal or unethical behavior.”
“Our Public Integrity Unit does the difficult and necessary work of rooting out corruption in our community,” District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. “I appreciate and thank the city of Beaumont for their continued cooperation during the course of the investigation. It was only with the partnership of the Beaumont officials, that we were able to bring forth the indictment against Orozco. It is important to hold our community leaders to the highest standards in our continued efforts to deter political corruption in our county.”
Prosecutors did not release further information on the grand jury proceedings, but the transcript will become public record 10 days after Orozco receives a transcript copy, Hall said.
“Beaumont has made great strides over the past two years,” White said. “We have achieved financial stability and are on our way to becoming a premier city. We still have a lot of work to do and through the active involvement and support of our community, we can do great things.”
Orozco was first elected to the Beaumont City Council in November 2014, and his current term expires in November 2018.
A married father of four, Orozco is a an educator who has served as a Board Trustee for the Beaumont Unified School District, according to the city.
–City News Service and staff
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