LOMPOC, Calif. — After more than a year of delays, convicted political corrupter W. Patrick Moriarty on Monday began serving a seven-year federal prison sentence for mail fraud stemming from bribery of public officials, laundering political campaign funds and paying kickbacks to bankers.
He reported to Lompoc--a minimum-security prison in a coastal valley north of Santa Barbara--about noon. It is the same facility where Watergate conspirator H.R. Haldeman served time in the 1970s.
Moriarty, 54, was the eighth man to go to prison and one of 11 indicted as a result of the nearly three-year investigation centering on his dealings. He used prostitutes, money and other favors to corrupt political figures and bankers who could be helpful to his fireworks firm and other businesses.
Moriarty is the founder of Pyrotronics Inc., parent of the Red Devil fireworks company, once the nation's largest manufacturer of so-called "safe and sane" fireworks, which are sold by charities for the July 4 celebration.
On March 11, 1985, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of mail fraud based on payments of bribes to City of Commerce officials for their help in approving a poker parlor and laundering campaign funds to members of the state Legislature.
Moriarty and his associates laundered more than $260,000 in campaign funds to California political figures between 1980 and 1983, according to research by The Times. Most of the money was spent during 1981 and 1982 when Moriarty sponsored a bill in the Legislature to prevent local governments from banning the types of fireworks sold by his companies.
According to statements made by prosecutors during his sentencing hearing in January, Moriarty cooperated with investigators by providing information on crimes allegedly committed by others, but was "somewhat reluctant to cooperate completely with the investigation due most likely to his close personal relationship to some of the individuals who are subjects of the investigation."