President’s Message: Update on Ceasar Larrach

Bob Israel once again attended the settlement hearing for Ceasar Larrach on 5/25/18. Here is his updated report of that conference.

Thank you, Bob, for attending the second hearing.

Kim Fuller

From Bob Israel:

Per the Request of Kim Fuller, I appeared at the Riverside County Superior Court, Indio Justice Center at 8:30am on May 25. I had discussions with both Steve Morgan the assigned DA and Joseph T. Rhea, Ceasar’s criminal attorney. Ceasar’s attorney was indicating promised restitution would be sent either to the Court System or the Insurer who had paid the claim. I advised that there had to date been no payment towards the Association’s loss of money by any insurer and indicated if possible the funds should be transmitted directly to the SCSHA as the victim to avoid further delays, and to avoid what I learned was a10% administrative fee ($12,500) normally charged by the County of Riverside for collecting and transmitting restitution funds. With these clarifications, and agreements, Mr. Rhea then transmitted to me a request for wire information to the HOA accounts which I forwarded to Kim Fuller and Tyler Ingle for immediate response. Following that, the two attorneys went into the Judge’s chambers to apprise the Judge of the agreed terms of the Plea arrangement before the matter was undertaken in open court. After a substantial period of time, during which all necessary forms and agreements were reduced to writing, at approximately 11:40 AM, Ceasar appeared before the Honorable Judge John J. Ryan one of the most senior and most respected Judges on the bench locally at which time the terms were outlined which included:

  1. Ceasar withdrew his previous plea of not guilty to the charges against him and entered a plea of guilty to all three felony counts.
  2. Ceasar acknowledged his waiver of his right to a jury trial.
  3. The Judge suspended imposition of sentence upon the felony counts subject to Ceasar’s agreement that he was accepting an initial term of 120 days in jail (119 days with one day credit for time previously served) subject to probation as to be determined by the sheriff’s department which could include work release, ankle bracelet (with Ceasar to pay the cost thereof), or any other diversionary program approved by probation authorities. DA Morgan, later advised that the determination of the Judge to suspend imposition of sentence upon the felony counts was the better outcome than the judge rendering an immediate sentence beyond the 120 days, as should Ceasar not comply with any of the terms of his probation, including e.g. restitution, not fully complying with the terms imposed for his probation, having or controlling firearms, etc. he would then be subject to the Court conducting a full sentencing hearing and imposing State Prison time of up to 5 years and 4 months for the felonies Ceasar plead guilty to. The judge asked Ceasar if he understood this and then stated: "that in the case of violation of probation he would be sent to prison for a long, long time".
  4. Ceasar agreed to restitution of $125,000 to the HOA and he and his attorney represented that the funds were available and would be transmitted by wire to the HOA pending receipt of instructions, with evidence of such payment sent to the Court on or before June 7, 2018 and the matter was re-calendared for that date. The judge advised Ceasar that failure to make the agreed restitution would be considered a violation of probation.

It should be noted that the amount of restitution is capable of being re-opened upon further proof of additional fraud, but it is my understanding that at least according to the investigation thus far, this sum is very close to what the HOA and its investigators believe could be proved as actual out of pocket losses.

As soon as the funds have been received, the HOA will email an acknowledgement to Ceasar’s attorney Mr. Rhea and to DA Steve Morgan, acknowledging that fact so that information can be provided to the Judge by June 7. Should for any reason, the funds not be received, by close of business June 6, DA Morgan should be emailed immediately.

DA Steve Morgan stressed that the outcome of these criminal proceedings had no effect whatsoever upon any additional claims (beyond the funds covered by restitution) which the HOA may wish to civilly assert against Ceasar or his employer for damages/losses beyond the amounts the Plea of Guilty by Ceasar now admits were stolen.

On behalf of the HOA I thanked DA Morgan for his efforts and anticipated result on our behalf.

Bob Israel
Member at Large