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Apple’s chief security officer, Santa Clara County undersheriff charged in alleged bribery scheme

An Apple iPad
Apple iPads were part of an alleged bribery scheme that has led to indictments, including Apple’s head of global security and the Santa Clara County undersheriff.
(Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)

Apple Inc.’s head of global security and the Santa Clara County undersheriff are among those charged in an alleged bribery scheme in which iPads worth $70,000 were to be given to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office in exchange for concealed-carry firearms permits, according to an indictment released on Monday.

A grand jury last week indicted Thomas Moyer, Apple’s chief security officer, Undersheriff Rick Sung, Capt. James Jensen of the sheriff’s department and insurance broker Harpreet Chadha.

The indictments were the latest developments in the Santa Clara County district attorney’s two-year investigation into an alleged scheme by sheriff‘s officials to extort bribes for the licenses. To date, six people — including Sung and a close adviser to Sheriff Laurie Smith — have been indicted, according to the Mercury News.

Sung, 48, and Jensen, 43, are accused of requesting bribes for concealed-carry weapons, or CCW, permits. Chadha, 49 and Moyer, 50, are accused of offering bribes to get the permits, according to a news release released by the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office.

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“Undersheriff Sung and Captain Jensen treated CCW licenses as commodities and found willing buyers,” Santa Clara County Dist. Atty. Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “Bribe seekers should be reported to the District Attorney’s Office, not rewarded with compliance.”

The defendants will be arraigned Jan. 11 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. If convicted, they could receive prison time, according to the district attorney’s office.

The news release said Sung and Jensen got Moyer to promise that Apple would donate about 200 iPads to the Sheriff’s Office in exchange for four concealed-carry weapons licenses.

The donation was allegedly scuttled after Aug. 2, 2019, when Sung and Moyer learned that the district attorney’s office issued a warrant with the Sheriff’s Office, seizing all its concealed-carry weapons license records, according to the release.

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Ed Swanson, Moyer’s attorney, denied the allegations and said his client is innocent. In a statement, he called Moyer’s charge “collateral damage” in a rivalry between the district attorney and Smith, the sheriff.

According to Swanson, Apple frequently donates devices. He said the iPads offered by the company were not related to the concealed-carry weapons licenses his client was seeking on behalf of other Apple employees.

Those permits were granted in March 2019, before Apple confirmed the decision to approve the donation, Swanson said by phone.

“Apple applied for CCW permits the right way,” Swanson said. “They didn’t make a bribe, they didn’t get asked to make a bribe, and the DA’s office has just gotten it wrong on this one.”

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At the behest of Sung, Chadha reportedly promised box seat tickets worth $6,000 worth to a San Jose Sharks hockey game at the SAP Center on Valentine’s Day last year, according to the indictment.

Fees to acquire a concealed-carry weapons license run from $200 to $400, according to the district attorney’s office.

Under state law, it is a crime to carry a concealed firearm without a concealed-carry weapons license.

Although state law requires that the applicant demonstrate “good cause” for the license, in addition to completing a firearms course and having good moral character, the sheriff has broad discretion in determining who should qualify, according to the district attorney’s office.


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