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Friday, January 22, 2016
Carlos Bustamante, Santa Ana City Councilman and OC Executive Sentenced for sexual assault and theft
Posted by CotoBlogzz
Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. - Carlos Bustamante, a former Santa Ana City Councilman and executive for the County of Orange was sentenced today for sexually assaulting his subordinates and committing grand theft of public funds.
Carlos Bustamante,50, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty Dec. 18, 2015, to sexual assault stalking and grand theft by false pretense, among others. For that, Bustamante was sentenced to 364 days in jail, five years of formal probation, ordered to pay restitution, and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration. He is required to surrender himself to custody Feb. 26, 2016.
According to the Orange County District Attorney's office, Busts ante victimized five women between 2009 and 2011 while working in his official capacity at the Orange County Public Works Department, most recently as an administration manager. All five of the charged victims were County employees and subordinate to the defendant at the time they were victimized.
Bustamante, committed several of the sexual assaults in his office at the Orange County Public Works building at 300 N. Flower Street in Santa Ana.
During one incident in 2010 or 2011, the Bustamante insisted that one of his victims come to his office claiming he needed to talk to her. When the female victim entered his office, he closed the door and began kissing her while holding her in a bear hug, while the female victim was telling him to stop.
During a second incident in 2011, the Bustamante sexually assaulted a second female victim in her work cubicle by rubbing her knee with his hand and trying to move his hand under her skirt
During a period of time between 2009 and 2011, the Bustamante stalked a third female victim by unlawfully and maliciously harassing her and engaging in behavior that made her fear for her safety. Some of this conduct included repeatedly coming to her office for non-work purposes; describing his sexual dreams to her; and trying to kiss or hug her while in her office, while in elevators, or while working in the field. On one instance, he entered her office and exposed himself to her. On two other occasions the Bustamante drove over to the female victim's house after she had told him not to come over. On one of these occasions, she hid in her bedroom to avoid him and on the other, she sat in a parking lot for an hour to wait for him to leave her house.
In September 2011, the Bustamante unlawfully attempted to hug a fourth female victim while the two were alone in an elevator at the Public Works building.
During two separate incidents, the Bustamante unlawfully restrained a fifth female victim and refused to release her unless she kissed him. During one incident in a parking lot, he hugged the female victim despite her telling him not to. Bustamante refused to let the female victim go unless she gave him a kiss. During a second incident a few months later, he called the same female victim to his office under the guise of something work related. When she arrived in his office, the defendant immediately shut the door, grabbed the female victim, and began hugging and attempting to kiss her. Despite the female victim telling him "no," he continued to restrain her. He again refused to let her go unless she gave him a kiss.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) began investigating in March 2012 after becoming aware of allegations against Bustamante. During the course of the investigation, victims expressed similar reasons for not previously disclosing the sexual assaults including embarrassment, intimidation, and fear that Bustamante could severely affect their quality of life and work. All of the victims worked for the County of Orange, needed their jobs, and Bustamante was in a position of authority over them. Each of the victims expressed fear for their professional future with the County if they reported the sexual assault, including concern that they may lose promotional or growth opportunities or be professionally retaliated against.
Many victims also explained to OCDA Investigators that they did not report the sexual assault because they did not know there were other victims or feared that no one would believe them over Bustamante, whom they believed was highly-powerful and influential. The victims did not feel they could report the assaults to their human resources department, as the human resources staff reported to Bustamante the victims perceived them to be friends. Many victims also did not feel that they could report the assaults to the Santa Ana Police Department, as Bustamante frequently bragged about his relationships with members of the department.
Bustamante regularly bragged to the victims about his friends in positions of power, such as describing a dinner party in his home with then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and relationships with high-profile politicians and law enforcement leaders. The victims were intimidated by these relationships and feared their careers could be negatively affected by reporting.
Many of the victims continued to believe they were the only victim until a formal investigation into Bustamante's conduct began.
Bustamante was arrested on July 2, 2012, in the parking lot outside of the Santa Ana City Council meetingby OCDA Investigators.
Theft of Public Funds
Beginning in fiscal year 2008/2009, the County went into severe financial crisis and most County departments underwent budget and spending cuts, including cutting back on non-essential spending such as travel and training, as well as laying off and furloughing staff and implementing a hiring freeze.
In 2010, Bustamante wanted to attend a two and a half week Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard Kennedy School in Boston. The cost for the program was $11,200 plus airfare and other expenses.
Bustamante received County authorization to attend the program with the agreement that Bustamante would be responsible for paying 25 percent of the cost. Bustamante then had a requisition form created asking for tuition reimbursement to pay for that part of the program cost, contrary to his agreement to be personally responsible for a portion of the tuition.
An employee at the Orange County Auditor-Controller Office noticed the conflict between the agreement with the County for Bustamante to pay 25 percent and the language regarding tuition reimbursement in the requisition form. Bustamante was subsequently required to sign a letter stating that he agreed to personally pay $3,500 toward tuition for the Harvard Kennedy School program and re-acknowledging that the County would only pay $7,700 of the total tuition. The defendant paid $3,500 on July 2, 2010.
On July 27, 2010, despite the signed letter and prior agreement with the County, Bustamante submitted a $3,000 Educational and Professional reimbursement request to the County after returning from the Harvard program. Bustamante knowingly got and fraudulently received the $3,000 reimbursement, to which he was not entitled.
Bustamante then submitted a separate reimbursement request for mileage, meals, and other expenses for the same program. County policy states that, if the County pays for an employee's participation in a program that provides meals as part of the program cost, that employee may not be reimbursed for privately purchased meals on days when meals were provided.
Despite this policy, Bustamante submitted a reimbursement request for $75 a day for 13 days. On two of the 13 days, breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all provided by the program and included in the tuition cost, making Bustamante ineligible for reimbursements on those days. He fraudulently received the reimbursement, including the $150 to which he was not entitled. In all, Bustamante is fraudulently received $3,150 in County funds.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Aleta Bryant and Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case