DA still pursuing embezzlement conviction

Joe Aklufi, former city attorney for Beaumont, and one of seven city officials charged with embezzlement, had his Thursday, Feb. 22, hearing continued to May 18.

Aklufi is the only one of the seven who has not pleaded guilty to the effort to take more than $43 million from the city earlier this century. All of the other defendants have pleaded guilty and agreed to return funds.

All were initially arrested and charged in May 2016. By November 2017, the others had succumbed to the District Attorney’s case against them.

Last week, the DA’s office filed a statement with the court that it would only pursue one count of embezzlement of public funds against Aklufi, although more were initially filed.

In the statement, the DA reported that several of the co-defendants said Aklufi knew about the embezzlement scheme.

David Dillon, a consultant who was charged and confessed, claimed, “My decision to engage in this course of conduct and to follow this plan of action was arrived at, developed and implemented in consultation with and based upon the guidance of City Attorney Joseph Aklufi.”

Three others also stated that they worked with Aklufi and relied upon his advice during the embezzlement period.

Also, several staff, who questioned where the missing funds were, stated that when they asked Aklufi, he advised that there was no problem and all was fine.

Aklufi’s defense attorney has not responded yet, and the court simply moved the next hearing to May.

Aklufi of Riverside is the former Idyllwild Water District counsel.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Hmm.

    What about the $318,000.00 spent on IWD consultant fees for a plant never to be built or the massive litigation bill to date with no hope of recovery?

    This is a pigpen and IWD customers continue to flip the bill.

    I believe current litigation could exceed $1,000,000.00 billed to IWD customers.

  2. More to the point: Felicia Marcus, Chair
    Felicia Marcus was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the State Water Resources Control Board; Steven Moore was appointed to the board by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 2012, reappointed in 2016, and elected as Vice Chair of the Board in 2017; Tam Doduc serves as the civil engineer on the State Water Resources Control Board. Ms. Doduc most recently served as Deputy Secretary at the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA), where she directed the agency’s environmental justice; Dorene D’Adamo was appointed to the board by Governor Brown in 2013. ; E. Joaquin Esquivel was appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in March of 2017;

    IWD doesn’t stand a chance defending a hand wavey pre 1914 water rights claim to Strawberry and Lilly Creeks. If they thought it was tough 10 years ago and failed to compel dismissal of the water rights challenge, today will be impossible and likely precedent setting for every other surface water diverter claiming a pre 19145 water right.
    They should cut bait and build out well water production a cleaner and more reliable water source.

  3. I know. It’s water under the bridge. What’s a handful of failed audits and/or hundreds of thousands of dollars more or less especially at tax payer expense. The good ole boys have to have some profit at public expense just as long as a local can dress up as santa and ride the fire truck. Wake up Idyllwild both iwd and ifpd should be dissolved and annexed by the county or surrounding water districts and CAL-Fire.

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