Updated: Contra Costa District Attorney Facing 13 Felony Counts, Resigns

6

The California Attorney General’s Office filed a 5-page complaint Wednesday against Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson. In total, he is facing 12 counts of felony perjury and one county of felony grand theft for a total of 13.

Update
District Attorney Mark Peterson resigned from office today after pleading no contest toa  single charge of perjury.  Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Theresa J. Canepa sentenced Peterson to three years probation, 250 hours of community service and a $300 fine.

To read the full complaint, click here.

 

The complaint alleges that Peterson

  • Count 1: January 31, 2012 – falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 2: August 31, 2012 – falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 3: March 4, 2013 – falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 4: July 31, 2013 – falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 5: January 31, 2014 — falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 6: April 8, 2014 – falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 7: May 26, 2014 – falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 8: July 31, 2014 – falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 9: February 15, 2015 – falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 10: July 29, 2015 – falsely stated a California Form 460, Campaign Disclosure Statement, that the contents therein were truth, in, fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 11: March 28, 2014 – falsely stated a California Form 700, Statement of Economic Interest, that the contents therein were true, in fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 12: March 31, 2015 – falsely stated a California Form 700, Statement of Economic Interest, that the contents therein were true, in fact, he knew they were not.
  • Count 13: January 1, 2011 – October 31, 2015 – In the County of Contra Costa, the defended Mark Peterson committed the crime of Grand Theft, in violation of Penal Code Section 487(a) in that while defend Mark Peterson was an agent, servant, or employee of the “Mark Peterson for District Attorney 2014” campaign committee, defendant did unlawfully take form the “Mark Peterson For District Attorney 2014” campaign committee money and personal property which aggregates to a value exceeding Nine Hundred Fifty Dollars ($950), to wit $66,372, a felony..
  • Sentence Enhancement (Penal Code Section 12022.6(a)(1)
    It is further alleged that in the commission of the offense alleged in count 13, defendant Mark Peterson, with the intend to do so and pursuant to a common scheme or plan, took funds and property of a value exceeding sixty-five thousand dollars ($65,000), within the meaning of Penal Code 12022.6(a)(1).
    Special Allegation
    Statute of Limitations – Discovery Within Four Years (Penal Code 801.,803(c)
    Law enforcement officials discovered the crimes alleged within four years of the filing of the complaint (Pen Code 803, subd.(c).) In a letter dated October 7, 2015 from the Franchise Tax Board (FTB), Defendant Mark Peterson received notice that his committee had been selected for a random FTN audit. In January of 2016, Defendant self-disclosed to the Fair Political Practice Commission that he made personal expenditures with campaign funds between 2011 and 2015. Thus, discovery of the crimes alleged occurred after October 7, 2015.

The arraignment of Mark Peterson is scheduled for 4:00 pm on Wednesday at the Martinez Court House.

Last December, the FPPC fined Peterson $45,000 after the FPPC found Peterson violated the Police Reform Act on 9-occassions. The instances were between 2011 to 2015.

According to the 7-page FPPC Complaint,  Beginning in January of 2011 and continuing until October of 2015, Peterson routinely used Committee funds for personal expenditures. This included using the Committee debit card for personal items such as meals at restaurants, gasoline, clothing, movie tickets, hotel rooms, cellular telephone bills, etc. Peterson also made a number of cash withdraws from the Committee bank account and used the cash for personal purposes, and transferred funds from the Committee account to his personal bank account. In total, Peterson made personal use of $66,372.03 in campaign funds. He reimbursed the Committee for all of the personal expenditures.

The Committee’s campaign statements for 2011 through June, 2015 did not reflect any of the approximately 600 expenditures made by Peterson for personal use. Nor did the statements show the reimbursements Peterson made to the Committee. The cash balances listed on each campaign statement also did not reflect Peterson’s personal use of campaign funds.

In a letter dated October 7, 2015 from the Franchise Tax Board (“FTB”), Peterson received notice the Committee had been selected for an FTB audit. Between October 15, 2015 and December 20, 2015, Peterson reimbursed the Committee a total of $33,000. Peterson had previously reimbursed the Committee approximately $30,000. In March of 2016, before FTB began its audit, Peterson contacted the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission through his attorney and admitted to making personal expenditures with campaign funds between 2011 and 2015 as detailed above. Peterson cooperated with the Enforcement Division and provided contemporaneous records regarding the expenditures and reimbursements.

After the FPPC Fine, Peterson issued the following statement in December.

District Attorney Mark Peterson announced that he had reached an agreement with the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission regarding use of campaign funds during 2011-2015.  The Enforcement Division will present the agreement to the Commission for its approval on December 15, 2016.

Mr. Peterson’s statement follows:

I served as the treasurer of my own campaign committee from 2011 until 2015, after which I hired a professional paid treasurer. During that five-year period, I borrowed, in increments, a total of $66,373 from the Mark Peterson for District Attorney 2014 Committee.   I used the funds to pay for day-to-day expenses, like meals, gas, cell phone bills, and other personal expenses.  I considered the money a loan, kept track of those expenses at all times, made periodic repayments, and over time, repaid the Committee in full.

In 2015, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) contacted me about a routine audit.  In response, I hired a professional treasurer and immediately contacted the Enforcement Division of the FPPC to make them aware of the expenditures and my plan to address my error.  I cooperated fully and provided my contemporaneous records regarding the expenditures and reimbursements for their review, as well as all of the underlying documents.

The FPPC Enforcement Division has noted: “To his credit, upon learning of the FTB audit Peterson contacted the Enforcement Division, admitted his violations and fully cooperated with the investigation.”

It is with disappointment and regret that I acknowledge the mistakes I made regarding my campaign financing account.  As a result of these mistakes, I have agreed to pay the Fair Political Practices Commission a $45,000 administrative fine.

Although I have fully reimbursed the Committee for all of the personal expenditures, I make no excuses.

I am humbled and embarrassed by my mistakes, for which I take full responsibility, and I apologize for my regrettable errors.

Mark Peterson
Contra Costa County District Attorney

SHARE

6 COMMENTS

  1. Eh, white collar felonies. He will just have to do community service 1 day at a hospital, take a picture with sick kids and go home to his wife. Move on folks, business as usual for the criminal elites.

  2. I am surprised he has not yet resigned. One with half a brain would have resigned back when they were hit with a FPPC fine. Come on Mark, do the right thing and move on. You can’t seriously charge other criminals with a crime when you yourself are one. Pot meet kettle.

  3. The CoCoCounty DA’s office has been a cesspool for many years. Just one scandal after another. Perjury, rape charges, it never ends.

  4. By rule, Peterson is virtually assured of disbarment. The Bar should accuse him of the one count he admitted PLUS the other 12. But watch him string out the process. And watch his hand-picked number 2 run for DA himself. Contra Costa County appears to be a political SEWER.

Comments are closed.