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Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

Santa Monica Parking Lot Operator Sentenced to Federal Prison for Bribery Scheme

A Santa Monica parking lot operator was sentenced to almost six years in federal prison for a bribery scheme that bilked the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs out of $13 million.

David Richard Scott, 58, the owner of Westside Services, was sentenced Aug. 20, to 70 months in prison. In addition to the sentence, Scott is ordered to pay $12.6 million in restitution to the VA plus the forfeiture of millions of dollars’ worth of assets he accumulated over the decade and a half he ran the defraud scheme, according to a Department of Justice announcement.

Scott, who has been in custody since his arrest last November, was sentenced after pleading guilty on May 17 to conspiracy and wire fraud, authorities said.

“This defendant engaged in reprehensible and disgraceful conduct that had a direct impact on our nation’s veterans,” United States Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement.

Scott paid VA contracting officer Ralph Tillman nearly $300,000 over 15 years to pull off the scheme, which involved parking facilities on the VA’s Los Angeles medical campuses. Tillman retired in 2014 after he was first contacted by federal investigators. He pleaded guilty in February to charges of making false statements to VA criminal investigators and falsifying tax returns.

Scott underreported at least $4.6 million in revenues, according to the plea agreement.

Over the course of the scheme, Scott amassed three condominiums in Santa Monica (with an estimated cumulative value of $7 million); collectible cars, including several classic Corvettes and three Ferraris, a Cigarette “Top Gun” racing boat; and bank and brokerage accounts with more than $1 million, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

Manufacturing, retail and trade reporter Shwanika Narayan can be reached at snarayan@labusinessjournal.com or 323-556-8351. Follow her on Twitter @shwanika.


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