LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A federal grand jury today indicted the chief of police for the port of Los Angeles on corruption and tax charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ronald Jerome Boyd, 57, of Torrance is charged in an alleged scheme in which he stood to financially benefit from the development of a social networking program that would become the official smart-phone app for the port and would then be marketed to other law enforcement agencies, federal prosecutors said.
Boyd — selected in January as the port’s chief of public safety and emergency management — was charged in a 16-count indictment, alleging corruption, lying to FBI agents, failing to file federal corporate tax returns for a private security company he created and tax evasion.
Boyd was placed on administrative leave until further notice by the Port of Los Angeles following the announcement of the indictment.
Deputy Chief Thomas Gazsi will assume Boyd’s responsibilities, said port Executive Director Gene Seroka.
“The city and Port of Los Angeles will fully cooperate in the investigation,” Seroka said.
If convicted of all counts, Boyd would face multiple years in federal prison. He is expected to surrender to federal authorities next week on a date to be determined.
At the center of the case are four “honest services” wire fraud charges that accuse Boyd of executing “a scheme to defraud the citizens of the city of Los Angeles and the Harbor Department for the city of Los Angeles of their right to the honest services of defendant Boyd by means of bribery and kickbacks, materially false and fraudulent pretenses and representations, and the concealment of material facts,” according to the indictment.
The corruption scheme centers on a program called Portwatch, developed
to provide information to the public and to allow citizens to report criminal
activity at the port, prosecutors said.
In 2011, Boyd and two business partners formed BDB Digital
Communications, a company that entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with
the unnamed company developing Portwatch, the document states.
The parties involved with BDB intended to generate revenues by marketing
and selling a similar app — called Metrowatch — to other government agencies.
“Under the terms of this agreement, defendant Boyd would receive
approximately 13.33 percent of all gross revenues generated by the sale of the
Metrowatch application throughout the United States,” according to the
The revenue-sharing agreement was contingent upon Boyd’s assistance in
securing the Portwatch contract for the unnamed company, prosecutors said.
The indictment alleges that his actions included hosting a private
meeting with the unnamed company for the purpose of disclosing confidential
information, meeting with Los Angeles officials that included the city attorney
and the mayor, editing the scope of work for the Portwatch contract so that he
could personally monitor the Portwatch app’s development, and urging the Port
to expedite a press release to announce the implementation of the Portwatch
Boyd, interviewed by FBI special agents in October, lied to the
investigators when he denied having any financial interest in Metrowatch, the
He also allegedly falsely stated that BDB was created to sell body
armor, and that he was unaware of the revenue-sharing agreement between the
unnamed company and BDB.
In relation to these alleged lies, Boyd faces three counts of making
false statements, prosecutors said.
Boyd also is charged with four counts of failing to file tax returns for
the years 2008 through 2011 for his security business, At Close Range.
Five counts of tax evasion for the tax years 2007 through 2011 charged
that Boyd failed to report income that was “substantially greater than the
amount stated on the return,” according to the indictment.