What promised to be a high profile embezzlement and bribery case against two concert promoters fizzled spectacularly as prosecutors settled for a single misdemeanor conviction. Initially, Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami were charged with a combined 15 felony counts. Todd de Stefano, a former events manager at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, is in plea negotiations with prosecutors that will determine his fate.
An investigative series published by the Los Angeles Times implicated the trio in an embezzlement and kickback scheme involving payments by Rotella and Gerani to de Stefano, a government employee. The arrangement caught the attention of the newspaper and prosecutors following the death of a 15-year-old girl who had attended an event promoted by Rotella and Gerani at the Coliseum.
De Stefano allegedly provided the Coliseum to the pair at low rates in exchange for direct payments to him. Additionally, prosecutors alleged that de Stefano had a role in covering up problems related to drug use and security during the events at the publicly owned facility. The trio had been accused of embezzlement and conspiracy, but prosecutors were twice sanctioned by the judge in the case for prosecutorial misconduct involving the handling of evidence.
Two other employees and a contractor were also indicted in the probe. One pleaded guilty to felony conflict of interest, but received no jail time. The other former employee will be in court in November regarding his case, which involves directing Coliseum business to a company in which he had a financial stake. The contractor fled the area and is currently listed as a fugitive.
An experienced embezzlement attorney
If you’ve been accused of embezzlement or any other workplace crime, you need the assistance of an experienced embezzlement attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense in the Southern California area exclusively for more than 30 years, and will work tirelessly to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. Don’t work with an inexperienced attorney when your freedom is at stake!
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County embezzlement case.
Photo Credit: Michael Li, via Flickr.com