Sheriff Michael Carona, 53, of
California was nicknamed
“America’s Sheriff” about five years ago by CNN talk-show host Larry King. Carona’s
time as “America’s Sheriff” may be coming to an end,
however. Corona’s own criminal trial began Oct. 28 after being indicted
for fraud and corruption. His charges include:
- Mail fraud
- Witness tampering
His wife, Deborah Carona, is also charged with conspiracy and will be tried
separately. Carona’s alleged mistress, Debra Hoffman, a lawyer,
is charged with
conspiracy, bankruptcy fraud and mail fraud; she will stand trial with Carona. Sheriff
Carona was in his third term when he was indicted; he stepped down to
concentrate on his legal defense.
$700,000 in Bribes
The federal prosecutors’ case against Carona accuses him of accepting
cash, gifts, questionable loans and kickbacks amounting to nearly $700,000
in exchange for political favors. Many of the bribes came from Newport
Beach businessman Don Haidl, who was made an assistant sheriff by Carona.
Haidl agreed to become an undercover informant for the government last year.
Secret Recordings of Conversations
Conversations that were secretly recorded by one of Carona’s former
assistant sheriffs, George Jaramillo, are expected to play a major role
in the prosecution’s case. Jaramillo, 48, was also Carona’s
confidant until he was fired by Carona; he is expected to testify for
Sheriff Carona was nicknamed “America’s Sheriff” after
a child-kidnapping case (that of five-year-old Samantha Runnion) rocketed
him into the national spotlight. In his interview on CNN, Carona looked
straight into the camera and told the child’s kidnapper not to eat
or sleep â€" his deputies were hot on his trail. Her kidnapper
and murderer, Alejandro Avila, was later apprehended.
Do You Legal Help?
If you have been charged with a white collar crime such as fraud,
contact us to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney who will thoroughly
evaluate your situation and ensure your legal rights are protected. Our
criminal law attorneys understand the system and will work tirelessly
to defend your rights.