A former Westminster planning commissioner has agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge for soliciting $15,000 from a confidential FBI informant in exchange for help obtaining a city liquor license, the U.S. Justice Department of Justice announced Tuesday in a press release.

A portrait of David Phuong Dinh Vo on the website for his law practice.
A portrait of David Phuong Dinh Vo on the website for his law practice.

David Phuong Dinh Vo, a Huntington Beach-based attorney who served on the Planning Commission from early 2009 to early 2013, was charged with a single count of bribery while holding public office in an agency that receives federal funds.

Vo has agreed to plead guilty, according to the Justice Department, with his arraignment scheduled for Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana.

A plea agreement released by federal prosecutors shows that Vo and his attorney, Dan Chambers, signed a plea deal on May 23.

The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison, three years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. But as part of the plea deal, prosecutors are recommending a lesser sentence. The requested sentence term wasn’t disclosed.

In June 2011, Vo solicited a $15,000 bribe from an informant working with the FBI, according to the signed plea deal. Vo then received $15,000 over the course of four August 2011 meetings in exchange for pushing a liquor license through the approval process, according to the Justice Department.

The case has been assigned to Judge James V. Selna, although no date has been set for Vo to enter a guilty plea, according to Wesley Hsu, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

Vo was appointed to the Planning Commission by Councilman Tyler Diep, who has worked as a policy aide to local politicians, including Supervisor Michelle Steel when she served on the state Board of Equalization.

The federal case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Ahn.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

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