A federal grand jury in San Francisco issued an expanded corruption and organized-crime indictment today that includes new racketeering charges against suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, Chinatown association leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and others.
Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, and Chow are both accused of conspiring to conduct a racketeering enterprise, or ongoing organized-crime venture, but in two separate counts of the indictment.
Yee is charged together with political consultant and former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson with conspiring in a two-person racketeering enterprise in which they allegedly solicited bribes and campaign contributions in exchange for political favors by Yee, and also planned an international arms deal.
The charges against Yee include new allegations that he sought or accepted bribes to support laws to extend the term of the California State Athletic Commission and to limit the ability of out-of-state professional athletes to collect workers’ compensation in California.
They also include previous claims that he accepted bribes to support medical marijuana legislation, arrange a state senate proclamation honoring the Chee Kung Tong and intervene with a state agency on behalf of a software company seeking a grant.
In a separate racketeering conspiracy count, Chow is accused along with Jackson and 15 other defendants of running an enterprise that allegedly encompassed drug sales, money laundering, gun sales, schemes to buy stolen property and a murder-for-hire plot that was never carried out.
The indictment claims that enterprise was operated by an alleged criminal faction of the Chee Kung Tong, a fraternal association based in Chinatown in San Francisco. Chow, who was previously convicted of racketeering and gun trafficking, is the dragonhead or leader of the Chee Kung Tong.
The racketeering counts carry a possible maximum penalty of 20 years in prison upon conviction plus forfeiture of property and money gained from the alleged crimes.
The 228-count superseding indictment replaces a 50-count indictment issued in April. It names the same 29 defendants.
Yee now faces a total of 11 felony counts, in place of eight in the previous indictment.
He and Jackson are both accused of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right, conspiracy to deprive Californians of Yee’s honest services and seven counts of using telephone and text messages in the alleged honest-services fraud.
The two men are also accused of conspiring with Daly City dentist Wilson Lim in a never-completed deal to import guns illegally from the Philippines.
According to other prosecution documents filed earlier in the case, the charges stem from a four-year investigation in which several undercover FBI agents posed as businessmen needing favors and as a supposed Mafia member who wanted to buy guns, sell cocaine, stolen liquor and cigarettes, and have an enemy murdered.
The $25,000 murder-for-hire plot is alleged to have been part of the Chee Kung Tong-related racketeering enterprise, but only Jackson, his son Brandon Jackson and sports agent Marlon Sullivan are accused of personally participating in the scheme in December 2013.
Prosecutors have alleged that Jackson and the agent posing as a Mafioso were inducted into the Chee Kung Tong as consultants in 2012.
Another defendant, Rinn Roeun, who is not charged with racketeering, is accused of offering to kill a different fictitious victim for the undercover agent for the same price earlier that year.
U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Lili ArauzHaase said the defendants will be arraigned on the revised charges on several different days next week. Yee is due to be arraigned before a federal magistrate in San Francisco on Thursday, Chow on Wednesday and Jackson and three others on Monday.
A status conference is scheduled for Aug. 7 before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, the trial judge assigned to the case.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News