SANTA MONICA—Wealthy parking lot tycoon Richard Scott was arrested for stealing $11.4 million from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Scott, 58, owner of Westside Services LLC (WSS), was arrested on Wednesday, November 8 for under-reporting revenues and over-reporting expenses for various parking lots across west Los Angeles. The largest lot was the 387-acre VA West Los Angeles campus, where Scott stole upwards of $11 million.
According to reports, he used two sets of accounting books to misrepresent his earnings and losses for the parking lots he leased for a period of 10 years. During this time, the man reported revenues at around $4.6 million below their actual amounts and reported expenses at around $8.2 million above their actual amounts.
Richard Scott was confronted by Ralph Tillman, a VA contract administrator, in 2003. He bribed the contractor with $130,530 to overlook all frauds and continue letting him run the parking lots. Tillman took the bribe. Tillman later retired from the VA in 2014 when he was contacted by federal authorities over the matter. In the case’s affidavit Tillman states that Scott “was definitely bribing me, and I was definitely looking the other way.” He admitted to taking “hush money” from Scott even after retiring, and that much of the bribe money came from event parking revenue.
Scott rented out the lot to store construction equipment, rental cars, buses and film production vehicles. He often used the space for event parking for UCLA baseball games, the LA Marathon and for Brentwood and Wadsworth theater showings.
With the gains, he was able to pay himself $3.1 million each year from his own WSS back account. He amassed $740,000 in travel expenses and $413,000 in expenses for meals. According to the affidavit, these expenses were suspicious “because the business of WSS consisted of overseeing parking lots at the VA GLAHS, only two of which were regularly staffed, which did not require any travel beyond the few mile area,” around the VA parking lot.
Authorities have seized much of the property Scott purchased with the funds, including a speedboat in Miami, two Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, three Ferraris, a vintage 1969 Corvette L88 and a special Shelby Mustang. Scott also owns three million-dollar condos in Santa Monica. He is not scheduled to enter a plea until November 30.