Former San Diego police detective Ernesto Encinas pleaded guilty today (March 18) to conspiring to commit campaign finance crimes at the local and federal levels.
He admitted that he and his co-conspirators agreed to make illegal political contributions on behalf of José Susomo Azano Matsura, a wealthy foreign national who was arrested in February. Foreign nationals cannot lawfully contribute to federal, state, or local campaigns.
Encinas admitted that he and Azano, Ravneet Singh, and Marco Polo Cortes agreed to make conduit contributions in connection with a federal election and to falsify records to impede a federal investigation. Azano, Singh, and Cortes earlier pleaded not guilty. Encinas admitted to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents that Azano induced individals to donate to a mayoral candidate.
Encinas also admitted that in 2011 and 2012, Azano paid Encinas $10,000 in cash off the books. Encinas failed to report $147,300 of such cash payments in tax year 2011 and $74,900 in 2012.