Friday, February 17, saw John Wessman, a bribery suspect freed on bail. Wessman is being accused, along with Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and developer Richard Meaney in a bribery scandal. According to reports, $375,000 was paid to Mayor Pougnet by Wessman and Meaney in order to gain votes on development projects.

On Wednesday, February 15th, Wessman turned himself in to authorities and was subsequently released on $25,000 bail bond. His arraignment is set to commence sometime in the middle of March. Pougnet and Meaney have yet to turn themselves in, though they have made a deal to do so this week. If Mayor Pougnet is convicted on all charges, which include accepting bribes, conflict of interest, perjury and conspiracy to commit bribery (several of which are still pending), he faces up to 19 years in prison and be barred from holding public office for life.

Bribery of Executive Officers is covered under California Penal Code 67 PC and is described as making it illegal for any person to give or offer to give an executive officer:

  • Something of value
  • With a corrupt intent
  • To influence the officer’s decision on an official matter

Executive officials include, but are not limited to: police officers, district attorneys, police chiefs, and mayors.

California Penal Code 67 PC is a felony in California, and carries some significant penalties. If convicted, the defendant faces several years in jail and disqualification from future office.

Perjury is covered under California Penal Code 118 PC and is described as willfully giving false information:

  • Testifying in court
  • In a signed certificate, declaration or affidavit
  • When being deposed
  • On a California drivers license application
  • When being deposed

Perjury is a felony in California, with a sentence of up to 4 years in California state prison. However, the sentencing is at the judge’s discretion, and it’s possible to instead receive probation and no jail time.

Robin Sandoval
Robin Sandoval is a California Licensed Bail Bondsman and owner of SCV Bail Bonds. Robin writes blogs and articles to help increase community awareness of the bail industry. If you have questions or want to suggest a topic, email robin@scvbailbonds.com, visit www.scvbailbonds.com or call 661-299-2245.
Robin Sandoval
Robin Sandoval