San Joaquin County District Attrorney Tori Verber Salazar.
Yesterday we posted the questions likely to be posed to San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar following Anthony Silva’s arraignment. Today we post the answers.
What triggered the investigation?
They wouldn’t say, citing the confidentiality of the investigation.
How long has your office investigated Silva?
The wouldn’t say.
Do the charges relate to Silva’s time on the Stockton Unified school board (Or has the statute of limitations expired)?
The charges relate to the period 2010-14 when Silva ws CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Stockton, and when he became Mayor in 2012.
Do they relate to the Boys and Girls Club of Stockton, his time as mayor, or both?
Are more charges contemplated?
The investigation is ongoing. So more charges are possible.
Any idea why Silva allegedy embezzled?
Lifestyle. At least that’s what they said. If he allegedly laundered money into his political campaigns, they didn’t say so.
Or what he allegedly did with the money?
I periodically received curious tips when Silva was spotted repeatedly gambling at out-of-town card clubs. And the D.A. citied his trips to South Lake Tahoe, where gambling is legal. But I never knew the extent of Silva’s gambling, and the D.A. made no specific comment about gambling or gambling losses.
So we’re left with what they told us: Silva allegedly bought electronics at Best Buy, stays at Motel 6, funded trips to Tahoe and bought himelf a membership at a Filipina dating website. His purchases with allegedly ill-gotten gains need to be more thoroughly detailed.
Deputy District Attorney Robert Himmelblau
Why weren’t these charges filed while Silva was in office?
They didn’t directly address that. These alleged offenses occurred on the watch of the previous District Attorney, James Willett. It’s unclear if Willett declined to investigate or prosecute, whether he handed an ongoing investigatiion to Tori Verber Salazar or whether she initiated the investigations.
What can be said is this is a complex investigation involving multiple accounts and thousands and thousands of pages of financial documents that had to be pored over by a forensic accountant. It obviously took months, perhaps years.
Is the investigation ongoing? Are others under investigation? Do you believe there was a broader conspiracy? When are these investigations expected to conclude?
The investigation is ongoing. Nobody explicity said anyone else is under investigation. But Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau said newcomers to the Club’s board were stonewalled “by Mr. Silva and those people associated with Mr. Silva on the Stockton Boys & Girls Club board.” That strongly implies a conspiracy. It is to be expected the main co-conspirators are being investigated and, if possible, will be charged.
Why is bail so high?
The standard bail schedule calls for bail in such serious cases the $600,000 range, and this case has enhancements.
The possibility that Silva is a flight risk is a tricky question. Himelblau pointed out the remarkably coincidental timing of Silva’s decision to leave the country. As to the counter-argument made by Silva’s attorney, N. Allen Sawyer — that Silva, after all, came back, thereby demonstrating he is not a flight risk — Himelblau said, “I don’t believe a thing Mr. Sawyer says.”
And how will you confirm Silva has not posted bail with allegedly ill-gotten gains?
By making Silva prove where they money came from. No proof, no bail.
What do you say to people who believe this prosecution is political?
Himelblau: ”If Mr. Sawyer … wishes to argue our motivation is political and personal, there is a process,” Himelblau said. “It’s not the press. You go to a judge and argue it. You don’t go to the press and whine.”