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2 associated with San Bernardino airport charged in corruption probe

March 25, 2013|By Phil Willon
  • San Bernardino County Dist. Atty. Michael Ramos announces charges against two men associated with the airport authority.
San Bernardino County Dist. Atty. Michael Ramos announces charges against… (Phil Willon / Los Angeles…)

Former San Bernardino International Airport developer Scot Spencer and one of his investors, Felice G. Luciano, were charged Monday with conspiracy to commit grand theft in connection with the alleged misappropriation of more than $1 million from the airport authority.

Part of the alleged conspiracy stems from the lease of an aircraft based at the airport for the Democratic National Committee in 2008, prosecutors said. The San Bernardino County district attorney's office alleges that the lease agreement was fraudulent.

Spencer, 48, was arrested Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the district attorney's office is seeking extradition. Luciano remains at large, officials said.

Along with conspiracy to commit grand theft, Spencer was charged with perjury and filing false documents.

In September 2011, the FBI raided the San Bernardino International Airport Authority and the Inland Valley Development Agency in San Bernardino, agencies accused of rampant mismanagement and questionable financial oversight in a recent county grand jury investigation.

Both agencies oversee the development of the airport -- the former Norton Air Force Base, which was shuttered in 1994 and converted to civilian use.

Among the findings in the civil grand jury report was that Spencer received millions of dollars' worth of questionable contracts from the airport authority.

Spencer is a convicted felon who served time in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud and was banned from the aviation industry by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The investigation of the airport is being handled by a special joint task force set up in 2010 to deal with corruption allegations in San Bernardino County.


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