Skip to comments.CA: Authorities investigating fired Orange County assistant sheriff
Posted on 03/25/2004 1:45:42 PM PST by calcowgirl
SANTA ANA Federal and local authorities are investigating whether fired Orange County Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo used department resources to help market an anti-crime device made by a company that paid Jaramillo and his wife $25,000.
Investigators from the FBI and the Orange County district attorney's office have interviewed officials with CHG Safety Technologies Inc. about the firm's relationship with Jaramillo, the company's attorney said.
Sheriff's officials are investigating whether Jaramillo improperly used patrol cars, deputies and a helicopter to market the company's system, said department spokesman Jon Fleischman.
Jaramillo's attorney, Peter Scalisi, did not immediately return calls Wednesday seeking comment.
CHG founder Charles Gabbard says he made a contract with Jaramillo in 2000 while he was making presentations to law enforcement agencies trying to gain support for his High-speed Avoidance using Laser Technology, or HALT, system. The system relies on a laser device to stop vehicles mounted with a special computer chip. Gabbard's hope was that legislators would force auto makers to include the system on every new car.
"He said he wanted to be involved. He made it look like he was the answer and he could make it happen," Gabbard told the Orange County Register. "He said, in his position, he could get things done."
Although the contract stressed Jaramillo would not use his position to benefit CHG, he helped organize media demonstrations of the HALT system and on at least 15 occasions provided deputies and sheriff's patrol cars at taxpayer expense to stage the demonstrations, Gabbard said.
As part of the contract, Gabbard gave Jaramillo a check for $8,000 and another for $7,000. Gabbard told the Register that he attempted to give Jaramillo another check for $10,000, but he said the former assistant sheriff told him to make the check out to Jaramillo's wife, Lisa.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department was one of eight law enforcement agencies that in 2000 supported a bill by state Sen. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, that would have mandated the inclusion of anti-chase devices on all vehicles. The bill was later killed after opposition from car makers.
FBI agents raided Jaramillo's office Saturday investigating allegations of corruption against Jaramillo involving the bail bond industry. Jaramillo was fired last week, months after a grand jury began investigating his handling of a rape case involving the teenage son of another assistant sheriff.
Gregory Haidl, 18, is one of three youths charged with gang raping a 16-year-old girl during a 2002 party at the home of his father, Assistant Sheriff Donald Haidl. Defense attorneys have maintained that the alleged assault, which was videotaped, was consensual.
Newport Beach Police Chief Bob McDonnell has accused Jaramillo of interfering with his department's investigation, saying he advised the younger Haidl not to speak with his detectives.
Fleischman said Jaramillo was fired last week after Sheriff Michael Carona decided to re-evaluate his executive staff.
Hey Carona... what took you so long?
"How much of this did we have before the days of loose sex and multiculturalism?" he asked rhetorically.