LocationAlhambra , CA United States
A Los Angeles County official who admitted to accepting bribes from Alhambra’s Lowe’s developer agreed to plead guilty to lying to federal agents and falsifying tax returns.
Thomas M. Shepos, 68, of Palmdale, admitted to lying about receiving bribes and filing a false tax return for the year 2014, on which he failed to report more than $100,000 in bribe payments, according to a press release issued on Wednesday from the office of Nicola T. Hanna, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. The press release also stated that Shepos lied to federal agents about the bribes when they interviewed him in November 2016.
In his plea agreement, Shepos admitted to receiving bribes from Arman Gabaee, co-owner of the Charles Company, which tried to bring a Lowe’s Home Improvement store to a heavily congested South Fremont Avenue in Alhambra last year. Gabaee indicted on federal charges in May for bribing a county official, revealed to be Shepos on Wednesday, in order to secure a $45 million lease from the county in the Hawthorne Mall. His trial is currently set for Feb. 26, 2019.
Shepos also admitted to accepting at least $250,000 from an electrical contractor in exchange for several county contracts and to not reporting $434,400 in income that he received from 2010-2016. As part of his plea agreement, Shepos will correct his tax returns and pay back taxes. He will likely be arraigned later this month and faces up to eight years in prison.
Shepos worked for almost 20 years in the county’s real estate division until his retirement last year. He had significant authority in his position to negotiate contracts on the county’s behalf.