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Charles La Bella, one-time personal attorney for former majority Padres owner John Moores, has joined the fraud section of the Department of Justice as a deputy chief assisting on cases being investigated and prosecuted on the West Coast, a Justice Department official said today. La Bella spent 16 years as a government fraud prosecutor, and was a U.S. attorney in San Diego, as well as chief of the criminal division in San Diego.

Then La Bella went into private practice. He got Moores off the hook in a federal investigation of gifts he had showered on former councilmember Valerie Stallings when he was angling for a ballpark subsidy, and she was one of his key supporters. Moores had been chairman of Peregrine Systems, which turned out to be one of San Diego's largest frauds. When federal investigators were looking into how sales had been inflated at Peregrine Systems, Moores said to a colleague, "I wonder if Peregrine should bring in Chuck La Bella." Moores had dumped $487 million worth of his stock during the period the fraud was committed, and $650 million, almost all he controlled, during the life of the company. La Bella quarterbacked a study of the Peregrine fraud by the law firm of Latham & Watkins. The creditors' committee in Peregrine's bankruptcy called the Latham & Watkins study "a whitewash." Matthew Gless, a Peregrine executive and close Moores associate, who confessed to his role in the fraud, testified that, "the Latham & Watkins report was designed to cover for the board of directors," according to San Diego lawyer Eugene Iredale, a defense lawyer in the government's fraud case.

The Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer in charge of the Peregrine investigation praised the Latham & Watkins study. Then he joined Latham & Watkins.

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Comments

realnews Nov. 4, 2010 @ 4:32 p.m.

DOJ in San Diego? Seriously? Give it up. Just admit it's all corrupt.

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Visduh Nov. 4, 2010 @ 4:36 p.m.

The chief fox now guards the henhouse.

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laplayaheritage Nov. 4, 2010 @ 5:21 p.m.

Maybe he can investigate why all public/private development deals in San Diego use Delaware LLC status to hid the owners snf potential conflicts of interest, like Ballpark Village LLC, a Delaware LLC, and Padres LP, a Delaware limited partnership for the City owned, Padre’s Park at the Park.

According to the City Charter all deals and leases with hidden owners are invalid and can be renegotiated on the open market. Instead of the unfair leases made when the City Council was giving away our public assets, the City of San Diego can get the fair market value of our public Leases as new streams of Revenue.

http://docs.sandiego.gov/citycharter/Article%20XIV.pdf

“Section 225: Mandatory Disclosure of Business Interests No right, title or interest in the City’s real or personal property, nor any right, title or interest arising out of a contract, or lease, may be granted or bargained pursuant to the City’s general municipal powers or otherwise, nor any franchise, right or privilege may be granted pursuant to Section 103 or 103.1 of this Charter, unless the person applying or bargaining therefore makes a full and complete disclosure of the name and identity of any and all persons directly or indirectly involved in the application or proposed transaction and the precise nature of all interests of all persons therein.

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a2zresource Nov. 4, 2010 @ 7:50 p.m.

Experiences with L&W have not been pleasant, including an attempt to convince a plaintiff to attend another defendant deposition of fellow plaintiff across town -- instead of hearing testimony from whistle-blower witness RE botched Encanto Gas Holder demolition. Google "SDG&E guilty" for context...

If I end up going to hell, then at least I'll know a few people there.

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Don Bauder Nov. 4, 2010 @ 8:35 p.m.

Response to post #1: Apparently, he will be covering fraud cases on the entire West Coast. I don't know if he will be based in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 4, 2010 @ 8:36 p.m.

Response to post #2: He does know a lot about financial fraud. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 4, 2010 @ 8:40 p.m.

Response to post #3: Great point. Will anybody look into those Delaware LLCs? I consider Delaware not much different than offshore secrecy/tax havens. Why do you think about half of large corporations incorporate there? Delaware is fraud-friendly. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Nov. 4, 2010 @ 8:42 p.m.

Response to post #4: You certainly will run into a lot of your lawyer friends down there. Best, Don Bauder

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a2zresource Nov. 4, 2010 @ 10:52 p.m.

RE #3 & #7:

It is unfortunate that there are not enough interested persons in San Diego to challenge for a showing of identity at the time foreign (meaning non-California) corporations and other artificial persons appear to bid on projects. It is unfortunate that redevelopment corporations, the Redevelopment Agency and the City Council fail to challenge for discovering the identities of parties hiding behind foreign corporate veils whenever bids come before those bodies in public consideration.

Or maybe that's what all of those closed sessions are really all about, where non-disclosure is the accepted way of doing business with other people's money.

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Don Bauder Nov. 5, 2010 @ 8 a.m.

Response to post #9: The council does not want the public to know who is behind those Delaware LLCs. Remember: the main variable is money. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 5, 2010 @ 2:24 p.m.

I don't see how the Delaware LLC's can remain private if they were to be sued and a court orders the identity of the owners to be revealed.

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Don Bauder Nov. 5, 2010 @ 6:42 p.m.

Response to post #11: The San Diego law is clear that identities cannot be hidden. Whether a judge would honor those laws is a good question. The trouble is that there are so many projects that aren't challenged by anybody. Best, Don Bauder

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