YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Citron Asks for Leniency to Spare Wife, Repay O.C.

November 13, 1996

The following is an excerpt of a letter that Robert L. Citron wrote to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger, who is scheduled to sentence the former county treasurer-tax collector next week.


"I have had trouble the past few years expressing myself and I am afraid that I will not be able to say what I feel here. When someone really accepts that they have done something badly, they usually say they are sorry that they did it. I am sorry for my criminal acts, sorrier than I can say. . . . I am extremely saddened about the effect of my actions on the two things that I love the most which I would never want to hurt, the County of Orange and my wife Terry. There is no way I can make up to them the damage I have caused, but I will die trying."

"When I became treasurer on March 1, 1973, I had to learn how to make money for the County. This is something I had never done before, but I knew how important it was for the County, and I worked very hard at it."

"In July 1991, Michael Stamenson of Merrill Lynch sold me a Sallie Mae, a government agency security that could be reversed. It wasn't called a 'derivative' but it was one. . . . When Matt [Raabe] came to me in April of 1993 after Ray [Wells, former assistant treasurer-tax collector] retired and said that we couldn't keep reporting those very high interest returns, I followed his advice and allowed some of the pool earnings to be transferred to County accounts.

"Even though I don't remember why I didn't question Matt, and there is evidence that I was not thinking properly at the time, I am sure that I believed that my actions would not be detrimental to the County or its agencies and that everyone would be happy with their investments. Even if it meant that the County earned more than it should have and that we would not tell the truth to pool participants. I am deeply sorry for these actions. They were wrong!

"Later when interest rates went up and the high returns of the commingled pool went down, I agreed with Matt that we should transfer some money back to the commingled pool as well as securities that were paying high interest to help the pool participants. This actions fits within the saying 'two wrongs don't make a right!' "

"I grieve about what effects that my wrongful actions have had and will have on my wife Terry. We have been married 41 years last June 11th. It was love at first sight."

"Not more than six times in our 41 years together have we been apart overnight or more. . . . I have never left Terry at home for evening dinners or cocktail parties."

"After I resigned as Treasurer-Tax Collector for the County of Orange and the bankruptcy, I contemplated suicide. I promised Terry that I would never do that to her and obtained medical assistance to once and for all remove that notion from my mind. She and the wrongs I must repay to the County of Orange are my reasons for living as long as I can."

"Because of my age and physical and medical problems I think that jail would be very difficult to survive, but I believe because of the physical and emotional effects our separation would have on Terry, it would be impossible for her."

Los Angeles Times Articles