A federal judge on Monday sentenced former Santa Ana City Council candidate Hector Olivares to two years probation and 500 hours of community service for his role in a scheme to take over control of the council.
Olivares, the first of four defendants to be sentenced in the case, pleaded guilty earlier this year to two felony counts of funneling illegal campaign donations to his failed 1996 campaign and to that of another candidate.
His voice cracking, Olivares apologized several times to his wife and said the convictions would impose a heavy burden. "I made a mistake and I'm going to pay the price," he said.
Federal prosecutors recommended probation instead of a prison term in part because of Olivares' relatively small role in the operation, and because he took responsibility for his crimes. U.S. District Court Judge Gary Taylor said. He noted that the sentence was not a "light" penalty because Olivares will have to perform extensive community service.
As a convicted felon, Olivares is also barred from seeking office again.
Sentencing for the scheme's mastermind, former City Councilman Ted R. Moreno--who was convicted in September on extortion and money-laundering charges--is set for next month.