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Ex-council member pleads guilty

Former Lynwood City Councilman Arturo Reyes on Wednesday pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft and agreed to testify against four other former or current council members charged in the same case, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.

Reyes, 58, entered the plea to an amended count of grant theft before Superior Court Judge Eleanor Hunter in Compton. Deputy Dist. Atty. Gary Nielsen, who is prosecuting the case, said the original count of misappropriation of public funds would be dismissed when Reyes was sentenced.

Also charged in the public corruption case were Councilmen Louis Byrd and Fernando Pedroza and former Councilmen Armando Rea and Ricardo Sanchez. All five were accused in April 2007 of collecting thousands of dollars by misappropriating public money under several schemes, including paying personal expenses with a city credit card.

The officials also were charged with paying themselves up to $40,000 a year, on top of their council pay, to attend meetings of two city agencies.

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Reyes is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 2 and, in exchange for his testimony, will get three years’ probation and be ordered to perform 1,250 hours of community service, as well as pay restitution, the amount of which will be determined at a hearing.

-- Jean Merl


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