Last of 12 Defendants Found Guilty in OC Court Bribery Scheme

Kaitlin Washburn for Voice of OC

The Superior Court of California in Orange County seal.

Javed “Joey” Asefi was found guilty by a federal jury last week of participating in a five-year racketeering scheme that paid $250,000 to an Orange County Superior Court clerk in exchange for resolving more than a thousand criminal cases and traffic violations without the knowledge of prosecutors and judges.

Asefi was the last of 12 people who participated in the scheme to be found guilty, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

Asefi and others funneled information and bribes to the clerk, Jose Lopez Jr., through a middleman, who received bribes as high as $8,000 to change court records to show that cases had been dismissed or downgrade DUI charges.

Over more than five years, Lopez changed court records to make it appear that defendants pleaded guilty, paid required fees or performed community service.

“In some cases, Lopez fraudulently created records that made it appear drunk driving charges had been dismissed or defendants had served mandatory jail time,” according to the press release.

In total, Lopez admitted to fixing 1,034 cases, including 69 misdemeanor DUI cases, 160 other misdemeanor cases and 805 traffic-related infraction cases.

Asefi is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 8 and faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in federal prison. Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 22 and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, according to the press release.

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