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Santa Fe Springs councilman admits to taking $10K in bribes, feds say

File photo of Santa Fe Springs Councilman Joseph D. Serrano. (santafesprings.org)

June 29, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Federal prosecutors say a Santa Fe Springs city councilman has pleaded guilty to taking $10,000 in bribes from a medical marijuana store owner seeking the city's permission to stay open.

Joseph Serrano, 62, was charged and pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony bribery count, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret L. Carter.

Carter says Serrano admitted asking the store operator to pay money in exchange for information and a promise he would try to keep the store in business. Serrano told the owner that he controlled another member of the City Council and asked for $1,500.

After making the payment, Carter said the store operator became an FBI informant and began recording conversations.

Serrano, who has been on the City Council since March 2003, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years.