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Ex-Anaheim official admits tax evasion

Richard Chavez, a former councilman, could face prison time.

November 07, 2007|Dave McKibben | Times Staff Writer

Former Anaheim Councilman Richard Chavez has pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and could face up to five years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Chavez intentionally failed to pay $8,591 in 2003 income taxes while working for Eli Home, an Anaheim Hills shelter for abused children run by Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, according to the plea agreement reached in August.

Chavez also admitted to intentionally failing to file tax returns for his Eli Home work in 2003 and 2004.

Chavez, who lost his bid for reelection last year by 200 votes, declined to comment Tuesday. But his attorney, Paul S. Meyer, said in a prepared statement: "The individual tax matter from the year 2003-2004 involved only his personal life and has now been put to rest. Mr. Chavez is relieved that he may now move forward with his public interest work and continue to benefit those less fortunate members of society."

Chavez, elected in 2002, was part of a voting bloc that included Mayor Curt Pringle and Galloway. He frequently joined Galloway to push for more low-cost housing in Anaheim.

Galloway said Eli Home was asked to give information on Chavez's employment. But, she said, "no matter what was going on with Richard personally, it never impaired his ability to be dedicated and compassionate to the people he served."

In 2005, Chavez was part of a state probe into the Anaheim Police Department, which was found not guilty of spying on political activists. Chavez, former president of the Anaheim Firefighters Assn., was frequently at odds with then-City Manager James Ruth over contract negotiations.

Chavez is expected to be sentenced Jan. 28.

david.mckibben@latimes.com

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