A police cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber.
A police cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber.

Motorists who paid a sketchy character to fix traffic tickets in northwest Orange County are being called before a federal grand jury investigating corruption at the Westminster county courthouse.

The Orange County Register reported that FBI agents handed federal subpoenas to drivers after they had been called into the county courthouse Friday by a judge, to answer his questions about why their cases had been dismissed in his courthouse.

The Register reported Saturday that the county judge on Friday questioned “dozens of people” whose citation records had been altered to show dismissals, or reduced fines, which had not been approved by the judge, Thomas Borris.

Borris reinstated charges against numerous drivers, whose records had apparently been altered by an unnamed clerk who has since been fired. He has only been publicly identified by his employee number, the Register reported.

Several drivers interviewed by the newspaper had drunken driving charges refiled against them, and were also ordered by the FBI to report to the federal grand jury on July 8. The subpeonaes state “theft or bribery among programs using federal funds” is the target of the probe, the Register reported.

One of the drivers who was hauled into county court Friday told the newspaper that he gave $8,000 in cash to “a guy” that he met in the courthouse, and evaded his second drunken driving charge.

“Honestly, I was trying to avoid going to jail, you know?” said the man, David Hernandez, 35, of Santa Ana, the newspaper reported.

On Friday, the charge was reinstated, and Hernandez was ordered to testify before the federal grand jury on July 8.

—City News Service

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