Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Samuel Alioto
Observer Staff Writer 

Santa Monica Resident Arrested for VA Parking Fraud in a Plot Taken From TV's Ray Donovan

Who knew parking could be so profitable? Apparently, in Westwood, it can.

 

November 11, 2017

Showtime

Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight as Ray Donovan and Mickey Donovan. Apparently the show accurately depicts how Federal contracts are awarded in Los Angeles. Who knew?

In Showtime's Ray Donovan, seedy characters regularly bribe LA officials to get contracts and hide the truth. But that's just television. Or is it.

Chances are good you've parked your car in those large parking lots in lower Westwood. You might have wondered who owns them. The answer is, you do, through the Federal government.

A story of who manages VA parking lots in Westwood begs the question of how he landed such lucrative contracts in the first place. The answer from the US Attorney for the Central District of California: he bribed an unnamed retired US official.

A gentleman who operated them for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, defrauded the VA out of $11 million, reports the Washington Post. He used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included expensive Santa Monica condos, five luxury cars and a speedboat, allege Federal prosecutors.

Richard Scott, 58, owner of Westside Service LLC, maintained two sets of books for 15 years, banking millions in off the books cash and millions more in over-reported expenses, a U.S. Attorney's Office Press Release. Sounds low tech, we know.

Federal authorities arrested Scott in Santa Monica on November 9. He is not scheduled to enter a plea until Nov. 30. An after-hours message seeking comment from his attorney, Michael Proctor, wasn't immediately returned.

Court papers say Scott used the wealth he gathered to buy three $2.5 million condominiums in Santa Monica, a racing boat in Miami, and luxury and vintage cars that include Ferraris, Corvettes, high-end Mercedes-Benzes and a Shelby Super Snake Mustang. Federal authorities are now moving to seize those assets.

Scott charged the VA for extensive travel, though all his business took place in the same area of Los Angeles, an FBI agent said in a 100 page affidavit testifying to the alleged fraud.

Scott is also charged with bribing the VA official who granted his parking contracts for years starting in 2003. The official abruptly retired in 2014 when confronted by federal agents.

The Daily Bruin

One of the parking lots in question is the gray area in the lower left.

"He was definitely bribing me and I was definitely looking the other way," the official said in the affidavit. The official was not identified and it's not clear whether he is also facing charges.

Scott underreported revenue by at least $4.6 million and over-reported expenses by at least $8.2 million, court papers say.

The vast VA parking lots occupy zillion dollar real estate in West Los Angeles. They are also used for UCLA basketball games and other events. Federal agents say Scott also pocketed an undetermined amount from those events that went unreported.

As for Scott, he is probably somewhere wishing he had called Ray Donovan first, to fix things. No doubt, a baseball bat and a well timed satchel full of cash could've made it all go away for good. Ray must've been in New York City that week. Oh well.

 

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