Citron to Serve Sentence in Work Program, not Jail

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Robert L. Citron, Orange County's former treasurer, 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 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 of 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."

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

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, and 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 200 agencies, schools and municipalities that had deposited tax funds into the county-run investment pool that he oversaw.

He faced up to 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 ordering him to pay a $100,000 fine and to remain on probation for five years.

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

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

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

Noting Citron's medical problems, Wilkerson said the former treasurer will perform whatever clerical work he is capable of handling.

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

Times staff writer Scott Martelle contributed to this report.

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