RIVERSIDE, CA—The former mayor of the city of Upland was sentenced today to 24 months in federal prison for his conviction on a federal bribery charge stemming from a $5,000 payment he accepted in exchange for helping a business obtain a conditional use permit from the city.
John Victor Pomierski, 58, who resigned as mayor last year after he was named in a grand jury indictment, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.
Pomierski is among four people who have been convicted in relation to a corruption investigation in the city of Upland, and he is the first to be sentenced.
“While he’s serving his sentence in federal prison, Mr. Pomierski will have time to reflect on the principle that public service is a sacred trust that should not be abused for personal enrichment,” said United States Attorney André Birotte, Jr. “The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that the public receives honest services from the persons they elect to public office—and that those officials who break the law are prosecuted and punished.”
Timothy Delaney, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, stated, “The defendant placed his own interests before those of the residents of Upland and betrayed their trust. The former mayor will now face the consequences of entering into a criminal conspiracy by serving time in prison.”
According the Pomierski’s plea agreement, which was filed in United States District Court prior to him pleading guilty in April, Pomierski “agreed to help Business A obtain a new use permit from the city of Upland in exchange for money.”
Anthony Sanchez, 37, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to solicit bribes. The indictment in the case alleged that Sanchez and another co-defendant acted as middlemen, collecting money from the business owner on Pomierski’s behalf. Sanchez is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Phillips on August 13, at which time he faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Another defendant to be convicted in this case—Jason Roy Crebs, 39—pleaded guilty in April 2011 to aiding and abetting bribery. Crebs and Sanchez, who were co-owners of a Rancho Cucamonga business called Venture West Capital, acted as middleman, accepting a check from the business owner and writing a $5,000 check to Pomierski’s business, JP Construction. Crebs is scheduled to be sentenced on September 10, at which time he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The fourth defendant in this case, John Edward Hennes, 55, a former member of the Upland Building Appeals Board, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy and making false statements to special agents with the FBI. The indictment in the case alleged that Hennes communicated Pomierski’s extortionate demands to the business owner and collected money on behalf of Pomierski. Hennes entered into consulting agreements with the business owner to disguise the nature of the payments and to protect Pomierski. Hennes is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Phillips August 27, at which time he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received assistance from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. In 2010, the FBI, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office formed the San Bernardino Joint Corruption Task Force to investigate allegations of corruption in San Bernardino County.