News Releases

February 23, 2018: Pair Charged With Campaign Money Laundering, Offering Bribes to LA Elected Officials

Greg Risling, Assistant Chief
(213) 257-2000

A real estate developer and his secretary were charged today with illegally donating tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of eight local politicians that resulted in approving an apartment complex to be built in the Harbor-Gateway area, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Samuel Leung (dob 10/13/50) and Sofia David (10/30/59) were charged in case BA465764 with one felony count each of conspiracy to commit campaign money laundering. Leung also was charged with one felony count of offering to bribe a legislative body member.

Leung is scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, while an arrest warrant was issued for David.

Deputy District Attorneys Eugene Hanrahan and Russell Moore are prosecuting the case.

Leung and David are accused of recruiting family members, employees and others to act as straw donors to funnel money to local politicians in hopes of having Leung’s five-acre parcel rezoned from industrial to residential use.

State law prohibits anyone from making a contribution to a political campaign using someone else’s name.

Over a seven-year period beginning in 2009, tens of thousands of dollars were allegedly contributed by more than two dozen people and companies connected to Leung. The donations went to the campaigns and officeholder accounts of eight Los Angeles area politicians. In exchange, both Leung and David are accused of reimbursing many of the donors’ contributions.

Prosecutors contend that Leung used aliases and the identity of a co-worker without her knowledge to make campaign contributions to those “who had the power to vote on zoning rules affecting property he owned,” according to the criminal complaint.

The 352-unit Sea Breeze project was eventually approved by the Los Angeles City Council in February 2015.

If convicted as charged, Leung faces a possible maximum sentence of four years and eight months in state prison, while David faces up to a three-year term.

The case remains under investigation by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.