Ex-Beaumont councilman Mark Orozco apologizes after getting probation in bribery, perjury case
Former Beaumont City Councilman Mark Orozco apologized to citizens and supporters after his Tuesday, Oct. 24, sentencing for felonies he committed while in office.
Orozco received three years of formal probation and six months of home confinement after pleading guilty to bribery and perjury charges last month. He also was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
“My family, my supporters and I are personally devastated at the outcome of this case,” Orozco wrote in a statement he handed to reporters after the morning hearing. “It was not the way I was hoping to go out. There is still an enormous amount of work left to do. That is why I would like to personally apologize for my mistakes.”
He thanked those who have backed him through the ordeal.
“I love my community and I hope you will all judge me on the many accomplishments that we, together, fought over the years, and not only on this incident,” Orozco said in the statement.
Orozco, 40, who has been free on bail, could have faced four years in prison on each count if he had not reached a plea deal with the District Attorney’s office.
He did not speak in court other than to answer “Yes, your honor” to some questions asked by Judge Samuel Diaz Jr.
“In these trying months, having considered all aspects of the matter, my attorneys, my family and I felt that accepting this plea was in the best interest of the city of Beaumont and its citizens,” his statement said.
It announced his resignation, effective immediately, from the council.
Orozco’s resignation was a condition of his plea deal. With the conviction, the former Beaumont Unified School District trustee and unsuccessful 2012 Democratic candidate for state Assembly and 2014 candidate for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors may never again hold public office.
His former colleagues last week appointed real estate broker Rey Santos to serve the remaining 12 months of Orozco’s term.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Barajas, who prosecuted the case with Emily Hanks, said the sentence was in line with current practices.
“This way we were able to hold him accountable and make sure he’s punished for his wrongdoings,” Barajas said.
Orozco pleaded guilty Sept. 28 to soliciting a bribe from Pardee Homes and to a new case of perjury filed that day for falsifying a campaign form.
On that form, prosecutors say he made it appear that fellow council member Nancy Carroll received a donation that she did not. That set her up for punishment for violating state campaign reporting laws.
The move retaliated against Carroll for not voting for Orozco as mayor, prosecutors said.
Orozco was indicted in May by a grand jury on bribery and perjury charges. The other charges he faced, which were related to lying on campaign forms when he ran for county supervisor, were dropped.
The accusations against Orozco were not related to the corruption case against seven former city officials accused of misspending city money.
Two of the accused, former planning director Deepak Moorjani and former Police Chief Francis Dennis “Frank” Coe, pleaded guilty last week to their part in the corruption probe.
Beaumont Mayor Lloyd White said the sentences can bring some closure to the city, which has faced numerous hurdles in recent years.
“Bringing resolution to the criminal proceedings against those who have harmed our city will help us to rebuild our community’s trust in its leaders,” White said. “We recognize this will take years but the Council is committed to rebuilding that trust and rebuilding the city of Beaumont.”