Leland Yee sentenced to five years in prison
February 25, 2016
Former Democratic State Sen. Leland Yee received a five-year prison sentence for vote selling. Yee was arrested in 2014 after an FBI sting caught him promising votes and guns to an undercover agent who was funneling him contributions. [LA Times]
Yee pleaded guilty last year to doing political favors in exchange for campaign cash. U.S. District Judge Charles Bryer sentenced him on Wednesday.
During his sentencing hearing, Yee told the judge to be lenient and consider that he devoted much of his life to the community, the people of San Francisco and the sate of California. Yee also said his wife was severely ill and needed him to care for her.
Breyer responded by saying he was not inclined to be lenient and that Yee had been hypocritical.
“It must be that the public has trust in the integrity of the institution, and Mr. Yee, you abused that trust,” Breyer said. “You showed you did not have integrity in your actions.”
Prosecutors alleged Yee had received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for favors that he admitted were illegal. The prosecution sought an eight-year sentence.
The sting that targeted Yee was part of an FBI investigation that spanned several years and led to the conviction of Chinatown mobster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow. A jury found Chow guilty of more than 150 counts, including murder and operating a racketeering enterprise.
A judge will sentence Chow next month. He faces life in prison.
In 2014, Yee was one of three legislators to face prosecution. The criminal cases cost the Democrats their super-majority in the Legislature and led to some campaign finance reforms.
Federal agents arrested Yee while he was running for California secretary of state. Despite his arrest, Yee still received about 10 percent of the vote in the secretary of state primary election.
In addition to serving time, Yee must also pay a $20,000 fine. He has 30 days to report to prison.