Friday, May 15, 2015

POLA Police Chief Pleads Not Guilty to Alleged Scam

By Mark Edward Nero

The chief of the Port of Los Angeles police department on May 8 pleaded not guilty to federal charges of corruption and tax evasion.

Port Police Chief Ronald Jerome Boyd, 57, had just been named to his position at the port in January, and was indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on April 30.

He is charged in a 16-count indictment that accuses him of corruption, lying to FBI agents and failing to file federal corporate tax returns for a private security company he created, as well as tax evasion.

He was placed on administrative leave by the port after being indicted, and his duties have been assumed by Deputy Port Police Chief Thomas Gazsi.

The alleged corruption scheme centers on a program called Portwatch, which was developed to provide information to the public and to allow citizens to report criminal activity at the port.

In 2011, Boyd and two business partners formed BDB Digital Communications, a company that entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with the unnamed company developing Portwatch. The parties involved with BDB intended to generate revenues by marketing and selling a similar app – called Metrowatch – to other government agencies.

The revenue-sharing agreement was contingent upon Boyd’s assistance in securing the Portwatch contract for the company.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, Boyd faces multiple years in federal prison if convicted of the 16 counts against him.