Citron to Work in Jail by Day, Sleep at Home

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former County Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert L. Citron will spend his one-year jail sentence sorting inmate commissary requests during the day, and then return home to sleep in his own bed at night.

If he is a good, conscientious inmate, Citron will end his sentence Oct. 24, a sheriff's spokesman said Thursday. He officially reports for work Monday.

For the man whose $1.64-billion securities trading loss triggered Orange County's massive bankruptcy, being accepted Thursday into the Sheriff's Community Work Program was "quite a relief," said David W. Wiechert, Citron's attorney.

"For someone Bob's age, who spent so many years serving the community, this is a righteous result and we thank the Sheriff's Department for rendering this decision," he said.

The 71-year-old Citron will report to the Theo Lacy Branch Jail today. After completing the intake process, he will be formally assigned to his clerical duties at the commissary, sheriff's spokesman Lt. Ron Wilkerson said.

Under the rules of the program, inmates return home at night after working from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Wilkerson said Citron's day-to-day duties will consist of sorting inmate commissary request forms for personal hygiene products, stamps, envelopes and paper as well as alphabetizing and organizing paperwork.

At a two-day sentencing hearing in November, the court heard detailed testimony about Citron's numerous medical ailments and his increasingly deteriorating mental faculties.

In April 1995, Citron pleaded guilty to six felony counts of defrauding and misappropriating more than $100 million in interest from the accounts of the 200 agencies, schools and municipalities that had deposited tax funds into the county-run investment pool that he oversaw.

He faced as many as 14 years in state prison. But Judge J. Stephen Czuleger suspended a two-year prison sentence and accepted the recommendation of a San Diego probation officer, giving Citron one year in county jail and also ordering him to pay a $100,000 fine and remain on probation for five years.

Since he entered the plea, Citron has testified several times before the Orange County Grand Jury and at the trial of former Budget Director Ronald S. Rubino, and he has cooperated frequently with investigators from state and federal agencies probing the bankruptcy.

Citron is the only official connected to the financial debacle to publicly admit and apologize for any wrongdoing.

His former assistant treasurer, Matthew Raabe, faces trial in March on the same felony counts.

Noting Citron's medical problem, Wilkerson said he will perform whatever clerical work he's capable of handling.

But, he said, Citron "will not be handling money."

Also contributing to this report was Times staff writer Scott Martelle.

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