News


State Sen. Leland Yee in court on fraud, drug running charges

Senate leader Steinberg urges Yee to resign

State Sen. Leland Yee was arraigned in U.S. District Court Wednesday on charges of weapons trafficking and scheming to defraud citizens as part of an indictment that includes allegations of drug running, money laundering, trafficking in stolen goods and murder for hire.

In addition to the charges against Yee, the indictment unsealed Wednesday names 26 people including Keith Jackson, a 49-year-old former San

Francisco school board member, who is accused of being involved in a murder-for-hire scheme and Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, a notorious alleged

Chinatown gang leader, accused of money laundering and trafficking in stolen goods.

Yee, 65, appeared in federal court in San Francisco before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins to answer to one count of trafficking in

firearms and illegally importing firearms and six counts of schemes to defraud citizens. The six counts of fraud each carry a possible sentence of

20 years in prison.

He was released Wednesday on a $500,000 bond and stripped of his passport and instructed not to leave the state of California.

Yee was arrested Wednesday morning in a series of FBI raids throughout the Bay Area and arraigned along with 19 of 26 other defendants charged in the criminal complaint.

Yee represents Senate District 8, which includes the western half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County. He declared his candidacy for secretary of state in 2012.

The complaint unsealed Wednesday alleges that between 2012 and 2014, Yee offered to use his office to do favors for undercover FBI agents in

exchange for money that would fund his Secretary of State campaign.

Also arrested this morning was Chow, the president of the Supreme Lodge of Chinese Free Masons in San Francisco.

Chow is facing charges of money laundering, conspiracy to receive and transport stolen property and conspiracy to traffic and trafficking in contraband cigarettes.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said that the charges stem from an investigation that implanted an undercover agent into Chow's organization and uncovered a pattern of alleged racketeering.

State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on Wednesday called on state Sen. Leland Yee to resign following his arrest and indictment on federal charges including soliciting bribes for political favors and conspiring to traffic in firearms.

Steinberg, D-Sacramento, spoke in response to the arrest Wednesday in Sacramento while flanked by a number of his fellow state senators.

Calling the charges in the indictment "sickening," and "shocking and surreal," Steinberg called upon Yee to resign.

"Leave. Don't burden your colleagues and this great institution with your troubles. Leave," Steinberg said.

Steinberg said senators were prepared to move to suspend Yee if he did not resign, and would remove him from all his committee positions.

"I am angry," Steinberg said. "I'm angry on behalf of the people and I'm angry on behalf of the 37 other members whose hard work everyday on behalf of the people is being tarnished because of events outside of their control and outside of our control."

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a fellow San Francisco Democrat, said he was shocked on hearing of Yee's arrest.

A spokesman for Ammiano said the Assemblyman's thoughts on Wednesday were with Yee's family, because he has known them since he and Yee were on the city's school board together.

Despite the shocking nature of the allegations, some experts believe there will not be much political fallout from the expected demise of Yee's political career.

David Latterman, a lecturer on politics for the University of San Francisco, said there shouldn't be heavy repercussions because Yee did not have many close ties to other politicians that could fall.

He also said there aren't likely to be votes on any upcoming bills that would be impacted by Wednesday's indictment.

As for negative impacts on the Democratic party, Latterman said he also expects those to be minimal.

Derek Cressman, who is running against Yee for Secretary of State, disagrees with Latterman's assessment. He said what happened Wednesday should

be a "wake up call," and that, "We are clearly beyond the point of looking at one bad apple and instead looking at a corrupt institution in the California senate."

— Bay City News Service

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 27, 2014 at 8:46 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Slightly ironic (hypocritical) that a staunch anti-gun leftist would be charged with gun running operations ('conspiring to traffic in firearms').
So much for the dem super-majority...wonder who is next.....is Shrimp Boy working in the legislature?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chemist
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 27, 2014 at 8:55 am

Hmmm, Democrat from San Francisco. We've got a couple of those in Washington DC also, and their husbands' businesses, their investments, etc. have benefited from the cozy arrangement. Don't hear much about that, however. It's just amazing how people get to be multi-millionaires on public servant wages. Pretty clear the Democrats from California don't serve the public.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:03 am

Appears to be the Chinese cousin of a Kenyan we know!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 9:29 am

no, but I wonder if Yee is related to Pleasanton's phony university student Visa fraudster Xiao-Ping Su. Apparently neither got the memo, never mess with the Feds...that's bigtime. Both are offering great learning moments. Even in San Francisco, I don't think being Democrat will save Yee.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by daveg
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:06 am

Yee is just one of three Democratic state senators facing criminal charges. Ronald S. Calderon, of Montebello, is facing public corruption charges. Roderick Wright of Inglewood was found guilty of eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud, for lying about where he lived when he ran for the senate office. The appalling thing about all of this is the fact that the other two Democrat's caught red handed are on a paid leave of absence pending the legal completion of their cases.Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:13 am

my my my Political crimes! BUSTED!

Web Link

as i live n breathe both sides of the aisle...tee hee hee


 +   Like this comment
Posted by DemocratsWontRemoveHim
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

Darrell Steinberg said "Democrats are prepared to move to suspend him ..." Wow ... tough talk. Why don't they expel him, now? What are they waiting for? And why suspension? Won't he continue to hold office and collect his pay if he's only suspended? The Democrats will keep him on as long as possible to keep their supermajority.

Another Democrat state senator, Rod Wright, was convicted of eight felonies in January. Still in office and still getting paid. I wrote to our local senator, Ellen Corbett, who also happens to be the majority leader, to ask why she isn't supporting his expulsion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 27, 2014 at 11:50 am

Crimes exist on both sides of the aisle. Many elected officials engage in anti-social behavior. No need for a feeding frenzy just because Yee got busted because it happens everyday. The educated commit interesting crimes and they are being closely watched by the FBI.

Web Link

There are more arrests coming down the pike. Today a democrat tomorrow a republican. tee hee...i'm so tickled that crooks get BUSTED! HOORAY!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yee's lies
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 27, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Web Link is an article on Tri-Valley University and Lincoln University is mentioned.

At one time Yee was an instructor for Lincoln University Web Link . For years, news articles and journalists have wondered how Yee could have houses and mortgages of $1 million when his actual income on his Statement of Economic Interests hovered around $42,500 per year.

"Then there are odd things that he doesn't seem to have explanations for. One has to do with the source of $1 million in mortgage debt Yee assumed more than a decade ago. His then-annual family income of $42,500 couldn't hope to cover the $60,000 in mortgage payments each year. The juxtaposition of Yee's massive debt and meager income interested then-SF Weekly reporter Peter Byrne. Through his campaign manager, Jim Stearns, Yee showed Byrne incomplete financial records meant to demonstrate that he and his wife, Maxine, could afford the debt because they had scrimped and saved."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Liberalism is a pox on our houses
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm

It's only Democrats that do these sorts of things. Why? Look at their base! Their just reflecting what the people they represent do all the time. (See Oakland.) Also, liberalism doesn't have a moral core, like conservativism does. (See pro gun ownership and freedom for wealthy individuals.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by kbenson
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm

A political career is similar to a mobster, except if you get caught, you still get paid.

Thank you taxpayers


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eric
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm

The person that wrote this article left out the other charge that is important and that is gun running.This is just another example of the anti-american democratic party at work here in Ca. How many other anti-american democrats are going to get caught trying to destroy this state and our country before the bleeding hearts in this state will wake up and realize that democrats are destroying this state and country


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I wonder how much Yee's wife was involved in his illegal activities?

hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...tee hee hee...

i rest my case...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wabunga!
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Yee was ambitious!!! Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by YeeYee
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Yee has an interesting web page...take a peeky poo...yup...you can even contact him via his office...tee hee...Web Link

i rest my case...


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