SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — The former president of San Francisco Building Inspection Commission pleaded guilty Friday to multiple counts of bank fraud, honest services fraud and evading taxes on more than $1.6 million in unreported income.
The plea resolves charges made in multiple federal indictments pending against Rodrigo Santos, 64, according to U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, who announced the plea.
Santos pleaded guilty to 10 counts of bank fraud relating to a scheme in which he advised clients to give him checks made out to city agencies and others supposedly to be used for fees or project costs but which were deposited in his personal bank account.
Between 2012 and 2019, he deposited 445 checks totaling more than $775,000. He also fraudulently deposited 378 checks to his personal account that were payable to his firm.
Santos also pleaded guilty to soliciting clients to make charitable donations to a non-profit athletic organization supported by Bernard Curran, a senior building inspector at the city’s Department of Building Inspection, in return for favorable treatment on their projects.
In addition to the fraud charges, Santos also pleaded guilty to falsifying records and to evading taxes on income of more than $1.6 million.
Santos has agreed to pay more than $1 million in restitution.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 23 before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston. The counts to which Santos pleaded guilty carry different maximum sentences, some as long as 30 years.
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Santos was appointed to the city commission by Mayor Willie Brown in 2000 and was named president of the commission by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the prosecution is part of a larger public corruption investigation that has focused on city public officials and contractors, including San Francisco public officials Harlan Kelly and Mohammed Nuru.
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