Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Fundraisers Charged in Frisco Bribery Scheme

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Three former fundraisers for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will face felony bribery and money laundering charges for allegedly soliciting bribes from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for political favors.

Recently retired Human Rights Commission staffer Zula Jones and Human Rights Commissioner Nazly Mohajer were each charged on four counts of bribery and one count of money laundering, for allegedly taking $20,000 in exchange for giving lucrative city contracts to an FBI agent posing as a Mafia-connected businessman.

Political consultant Keith Jackson faces the same charges as well as one count of grand theft of public funds and six misdemeanor counts of campaign finance fraud.

Calls to Gascon's office were not returned Monday.

All three politicos were working to retire debt from Lee's 2011 mayoral campaign. While San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said the charges were the result of a joint investigation with the City Attorney's Office, allegations of a "pay-to-play" scheme in Lee's office arose in the federal case against Chinatown gangster Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow.

In a motion to dismiss for selective prosecution filed August 2015, Chow's lawyers claimed that Mohajer and Jones "hustled bribes for the mayor."

According to the filing, Jones was recorded explaining to the agent how politics in Lee's office works, saying, "You pay to play here. We got it. We know this. We are the best at this game uh, better than New York. We do it a little more sophisticated than New Yorkers. We do it without the Mafia."

Chow, a former Chinatown gang leader who was recently convicted by a federal jury of money laundering, racketeering, ordering a murder and conspiring to murder another gang rival, was rounded up in March 2014 alongside former state Sen. Leland Yee and Jackson, who was Yee's consultant.

Jackson and Yee each pleaded guilty to one county of felony racketeering.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer issued an order Monday pushing their sentencing date, originally set for Feb. 10, back to Feb. 24.

Chow will be sentenced on March 23.

The indictment against Jones, Mohajer and Jackson has not been released.

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