April 23, 2024
Andrea and Jesus Cardenas. Images from Fb and LinkedIn pages

Political marketing consultant Jesus Cardenas, who pleaded responsible to grand theft prices alongside together with his sister, ex-Chula Vista Metropolis Councilwoman Andrea Cardenas, for fraudulently acquiring pandemic reduction funds and unemployment advantages, was sentenced Wednesday to 180 days in custody and two years of probation.

Cardenas’ custodial time period will embrace 45 days within the work furlough program, with the rest to be served on residence detention. He additionally was ordered to pay over $200,000 in restitution to the Small Enterprise Administration and the state’s Employment Growth Division.

Prosecutors say Cardenas, 41, and his sister fraudulently obtained a $176,227 Paycheck Safety Program mortgage in early 2021 supposed for his or her agency, Grassroots Assets. The cash was meant to assist payroll for 34 staff, most of whom truly labored for a marijuana dispensary that was a Grassroots consumer.

The pair then used the funds on private bills, together with a $33,500 verify to Andrea Cardenas’ Chula Vista Metropolis Council marketing campaign account and $21,000 that Jesus Cardenas owed American Categorical, prosecutors mentioned.

Extra prices have been added later for taking funds from the Employment Growth Division whereas each have been employed.

The pair pleaded responsible final month, and attorneys for each siblings have said that they are going to petition for the fees to be lowered to misdemeanors sooner or later.

Andrea Cardenas, 32, who resigned from her council seat final month, is scheduled for sentencing in August.

As a part of their pleas, six different felony counts of conspiracy, cash laundering and failing to file tax returns have been dismissed.

Cardenas’ protection lawyer, Fernanda Ezquerro, advised San Diego Superior Courtroom Choose Rachel Cano on Wednesday that her consumer is “deeply remorseful” and “does acknowledge this was a mistake and a critical one.”

Ezquerra mentioned monetary struggles amid the pandemic performed a job within the crimes.

“Like several enterprise proprietor and particular person, additionally they went by monetary hardship throughout the COVID pandemic, which is what introduced on the moment offense,” she mentioned.

Deputy District Lawyer Chandelle Boyce mentioned that what occurred was not a one-time error in judgment, however “a calculated collection of selections to steal that spanned a number of years.”

Boyce characterised Jesus Cardenas as having a “dominant function in these schemes,” describing him because the consulting agency’s chief who “assigned duties to Andrea Cardenas after which she carried out these duties.”

The prosecutor mentioned, “When these crimes got here to mild, their actions have now contributed to eroding the general public’s belief in our native authorities officers.”