Riverbend Marine Service Auction

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ex-POLA Police Chief Sentenced to Prison

By Mark Edward Nero

On Oct. 11, the former chief of the Port of Los Angeles’ police department was sentenced to two years in federal prison for his role in a scheme involving a smartphone app designed to allow people to report criminal activities at the port.

Ex-chief Ronald Boyd had pled guilty in February to tax evasion related to concealing over $1 million in income and making false statements to the FBI.

Although he’d told FBI agents he had no financial interest in a company developing a smartphone app called Portwatch, to allow people to report criminal activities at the port, the truth was that he actually had 13.3 percent interest in it, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

He was given a stake in the company, according to federal officials, by promising that the Portwatch contract would be awarded to a company called BDB Digital Communications which he set up with two partners in 2011.

The parties involved with BDB also allegedly intended to generate revenues by marketing and selling a similar app – called Metrowatch – to other government agencies. Boyd admitted to lying to federal investigators after telling them that he had no financial stake in Metrowatch, according to a federal indictment.

Prosecutors also said he failed to disclose more than $1.1 million in income on his 2007 to 2011 tax returns from At Close Range Inc., an LA-area security company he operated.

Boyd had been named the port’s police chief in January 2015, just three months before being indicted by a federal grand jury. He was placed on administrative leave by the port after the indictment, and retired from the port last November. His duties were assumed by Deputy Port Police Chief Thomas Gazsi. Gazsi was appointed to the chief position in December 2015.