Ex-Rosemead Mayor John Tran gets 21 months for witness tampering

Ex-Rosemead Mayor John Tran gets 21 months in federal prison for witness tampering in bribery case

Ex-Rosemead Mayor John Tran was sentenced Monday to 21 months in federal prison for witness tampering to resolve a bribery and extortion case involving a real estate developer.

Tran faced up to 25 years in prison for his alleged role in the bribery scheme. But he agreed in November to plead guilty to two felonies -- attempted witness tampering and making a false statement to an FBI agent.

Prosecutors dropped bribery charges in the deal that also required Tran to pay $38,000 in restitution -- the amount federal prosecutors said he took in bribes. He will begin serving his sentence in October.

Tran was accused of accepting bribes from the developer of a mixed-use project in Rosemead while serving on the city council.

Tran met the witness in a September 2011 meeting at a Starbucks in South Pasadena, telling her that she should say they did not meet recently and that she never gave him money, according to prosecutors.

He later lied to the FBI about the money, prosecutors said in court papers. 

In 2012, Tran admitted to the bribery charge and ended a bid for the 49th state Assembly district and stepped down from the El Monte Union High School District board.

But later that same year, he withdrew the plea, citing new information about the witness, identified as developer Tammy Gong, saying it cast doubt on her testimony. In March 2013, federal prosecutors obtained a new indictment.

According to prosecutors, an informant gave Tran four payments totaling $38,000 in exchange for a promise to help her get required permits for the building.

Rosemead never approved the project; Tran was not reelected in 2009. 

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