The former Port of Los Angeles Chief of Police was sentenced last week to two years in federal prison for tax evasion and for lying to FBI Agents who were investigating his acceptance of a bribe in connection with the development of an official smart phone app to be marketed to other law enforcement agencies.
Ronald Jerome Boyd, 58, of Torrance, was sentenced by United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner, who also ordered the defendant to pay $305,054 in restitution.
Boyd pleaded guilty on Feb. 3 to felony charges of tax evasion and making a false statement to the FBI, as well as a misdemeanor offense of failing to file a federal tax return.
Boyd pleaded guilty to the three offenses on the day he was scheduled to go to trial on a 16-count grand jury indictment. Boyd admitted to lying to federal investigators about a scheme related to a smart phone app 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 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. Boyd was set to receive approximately 13.33 percent of all gross revenues generated by the sale of the Metrowatch application.
“It’s of paramount importance that public officials, particularly those in law enforcement, maintain the standards of honesty and trust they owe to the public,” said Lawrence Middleton, the Chief of the Criminal Division at the United States Attorney’s Office. “The sentence imposed by the court in this case demonstrates that those who betray such trust shall be met with serious consequences.”
According to the indictment in this case, Boyd received his financial interest in return for guaranteeing that the Portwatch contract would be awarded to the company.
Boyd admitted that he lied to FBI Agents in October 2014 when he denied having any financial interest in Metrowatch or having engaged in a conflict of interest.
“The citizens of Los Angeles must be able to trust that government officials will make decisions based on the needs of the community, rather than using their position of authority to serve their own best interest,” said Deirdre Fike, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI and our partners will continue to work on restoring that trust by addressing corruption by public officials.”
Boyd also pleaded guilty to tax evasion in relation to his 2011 personal income tax return. In his plea agreement, Boyd admitted receiving income from a security business he operated, At Close Range. The income came from the owner of a company doing business with the Port, American Guard Services. Boyd admitted that he failed to report that income on his personal income tax returns for years 2007 through 2011.
Additionally, Boyd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of failing to file a 2011 tax return for At Close Range. While he pleaded guilty to one only count of failing to file a tax return for At Close Range, Boyd admitted in his plea agreement that he failed to file tax returns for the business for years 2007 through 2011.
The estimated loss of tax revenue to the Internal Revenue Service for Boyd’s conduct was more than $300,000.
“While occupying a position of trust in the community, Mr. Boyd actively concealed his outside business interests by not disclosing certain income he received on his federal income tax returns,” stated Anthony J. Orlando, Acting Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to vigorously pursue those who unjustly enrich themselves in violation of their fiduciary duties.”
The case against Boyd is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and Assistant United States Attorney Scott Paetty of the General Crimes Section.