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COMPTON (CNS) - A judge today lopped one year off the five-year state prison sentence she handed down about two months ago to former Lynwood City Councilman Louis Byrd, who was convicted of misappropriating public funds.
Compton Superior Court Judge Eleanor Hunter, who had sentenced the 80- year-old former politician to the five-year term on Sept. 21, shortened the sentence over the objection of Deputy District Attorney Edward Miller.
"We believed the sentence she had previously given was appropriate given everything he had done, but we respect the judge's final decision,'' the prosecutor said.
The four-year term is the same sentence that was handed down Sept. 21 to another former Lynwood city councilman, 47-year-old Fernando Pedroza, who was charged along with Byrd.
The judge refused to release the two on bail pending appeal of their July 27 conviction of one count each of misappropriation of public funds. They were taken into custody shortly after the jury's verdict.
At today's hearing, Byrd was ordered to pay $456,586 in restitution to the city of Lynwood, while Pedroza was directed to pay $180,918.
Prosecutors said Byrd misappropriated $330,000 for his personal use and that Pedroza misappropriated more than $160,000, including a $1,500 charge he made on a city credit card for a visit to a gentleman's club while on a sister
city conference trip in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Under one scheme, they paid themselves up to $40,000 annually -- along with their council pay -- for participating in two city agencies, according to the District Attorney's Office. Prosecutors said the two were not entitled to additional pay for service in conjunction with the Lynwood Public Finance
Authority and Lynwood Information Inc.
The two were on the city council when they were charged in April 2007
along with former councilman Arturo Reyes, who pleaded guilty in September 2008 to a felony count of grand theft. Reyes is still awaiting sentencing, which is set for Dec. 11.
Byrd, then the city's mayor, and Pedroza were recalled in September 2007
in an election prompted by the corruption allegations.
The case stemmed from a four-year investigation into the council's handling of public funds that was launched after Faustino Gonzales, who had been placed on leave as Lynwood city manager, approached the District Attorney's Office and met with Dave Demerjian, head deputy of the District Attorney's Public Integrity Division.
From City News Service
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