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Wednesday, Feb 8, 2023

Attorney Gets 80 Months in Carson Extortion Case

A Tarzana attorney who served as the “bagman” in an extortion case between city officials in Carson and several waste-hauling companies was sentenced Monday to 80 months in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson sentenced Robert Dennis Pryce, a partner at Pryce Parker Hill LLP, in downtown federal court.

Pryce had pleaded guilty two years ago to two counts of conspiracy, two counts of paying bribes, six counts of mail fraud and six counts of money laundering in a scheme to extort money from Waste Management Inc. and Browning Ferris Industries Inc., which agreed to pay $585,000 to city officials in order to obtain the contract.

So far, 12 people have been convicted in a federal investigation of bribery and extortion in Carson, including two former mayors and R. Keith McDonald, son of Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Los Angeles, and president of the West Basin Municipal Water District board.

Pryce also pleaded guilty to nine counts of mail fraud, nine counts of bankruptcy fraud, four counts of making false statements to a bankruptcy court and ten counts of money laundering in a separate case involving kickbacks with real estate firm Nelson Shelton and Associates. In those deals, which took place for three years beginning in 1996, Pryce negotiated to have Nelson sell properties over which he served as bankruptcy trustee. His daughter was paid $310,000 in commissions, with Pryce pocketing $130,000 of that money.

He also took kickbacks from a contractor, Scorza and Sons Construction Services, which performed work for free at his home and his mother’s and sister’s homes.

The federal investigation was assisted by the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Trustee’s Office.

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