NEWBURY PARK— On Monday, July 27, the Department of Justice in Los Angeles released the sentencing of a Ventura County man who bribed L.A. County officials and falsely claimed on his taxes.
Newbury Park resident Enrique Contreras, 40, was sentenced to two years in federal prison “for paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to public officials in Los Angeles County in order to secure government contracts for his electrical contracting company,” stated the release.
Contreras secured lucrative contracts from the Los Angeles County government of his company, Tel/Pro Voice and Data, Inc., by bribing two County officials with payments totaling $600,000. He then concealed the bribe money and other personal expenses by claiming them as legitimate business expenses incurred by Tel/Pro to receive a bigger tax break.
Contreras failed to report a total of $636,454 in income from 2013 to 2017 and he owes $221,366 in unpaid taxes.
The two officials he bribed were Mohammad R. Tirmazi, 51, of Alta Loma, who was an employee at Los Angeles County’s Internal Services Department, and Thomas J. Shepos, 71, of Palmdale, a public official formerly employed by the County in the Real Estate Division.
The release states, “Last month, Tirmazi was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for accepting nearly $300,000 in bribes from Contreras and then failing to report the income he received from those bribes and a side business on his federal tax returns,” and further added, “Shepos pleaded guilty in November 2018 to accepting bribes and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 7.”
Contreras was sentenced not only to serving prison time but also to paying $821,366—$600,000 to Los Angeles County and $221,366 to the United States Treasury— in restitution. He pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of subscribing to a false tax return in May of 2019 and paid the restitution prior to his sentencing date.