Two former officials from San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection were indicted on wire fraud charges.
Former building commissioner Rodrigo Santos and former building inspector Bernie Curran were indicted in federal court Nov. 16, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
They were charged with conspiracy to commit and committing honest services wire fraud.
Santos asked his clients to make charitable donations to the San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Association in hopes that “those donations would influence” Curran, a senior building inspector at the time, “in the performance of his official duties.” According to the indictment, Curran would then give Santos’ clients “favorable official treatment..”
Santos sent a text to one of his clients in January 2019 that read, “Drop off a check payable to Golden Gate Rugby Association for $500. This will smooth the inspection with the Senior DBI Inspector.” According to the indictment, Santos would tell his clients to deliver the checks to himself so he could pass them on to Curran to ensure he knew that Santos “had arranged the donation.”
Santos and Curran “engaged in a conspiracy and scheme” that started no later than May 2017. The criminal activity continued through April 2020, if not longer.
Donations from Santos’ clients to the rugby association total $9,600 from May 2017 to April 2019, the indictment said. They were concealed from the DBI.
“Their concealment of the scheme allowed it to continue,” the indictment said. “Because if DBI had known about the donations from Santos’ clients, Curran would not have been permitted to inspect properties associated with Santos.”
Federal officials said Curran tried to hide the misconduct by deleting text messages with Santos from his phone.
[SFC] — Victoria Pruitt