Ex-sheriff’s lieutenant who traded massage parlor sex for raid tipoff gets probation

Former Lt. David Smith worked at the L.A. County Sheriff's Department West Hollywood Station.

A former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department lieutenant has been sentenced to community service and probation after pleading no contest to charges that he warned a massage parlor employee of pending law enforcement raids in exchange for sexual favors, the L.A. County district attorney’s office said.

David Smith, 61, must perform 150 hours of community service and serve three years’ probation after pleading no contest Thursday to one count of obstructing and delaying law enforcement and two counts of solicitation of prostitution, the D.A.'s office said in a statement. He will also be restricted from going near massage parlors and spas. Smith originally pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors say Smith, after being arrested in an undercover investigation, admitted visiting at least one massage parlor and paying for acts of prostitution in 2016 and 2017.

According to a complaint, Smith told an employee at Pine Therapy Massage on Santa Monica Boulevard in June 2017 about vice operations in the area and suggested “she should be careful or close for the evening.”


Prosecutors said Smith used his access to deputies to determine when there was law enforcement activity in the area.

Under questioning from Sheriff’s Department investigators in June 2017, Smith admitted to warning the employee about potential law enforcement activities and said he frequently visited the parlor for sex, according to the complaint.

Smith left the department nearly a year before charges were filed against him. It is unclear whether he was fired or resigned. The district attorney’s office described him only as “retired.”

The veteran lawman had been with the Sheriff’s Department for 35 years before his departure, most recently working in the West Hollywood Division, officials said.