SAN FRANCISCO – Former State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), 67, was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment and Keith Jackson was sentenced to 108 months’ imprisonment on Feb. 24 for their respective roles in a racketeering conspiracy, announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.
Brandon Jamelle Jackson and Marlon Sullivan also were sentenced, Jackson to 54 months and Sullivan to 66 months, for their respective roles in a separate, but related, conspiracy. The latest sentences are the first four to result from the second superseding indictment filed January 29, 2015, in federal court.
The second superseding indictment stemmed from allegations that Yee, along with 27 other defendants, was involved in a broad array of criminal activity. All four defendants who were sentenced last week had pleaded guilty to one count of conducting the affairs of a racketeering enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.
Central to the allegations in the indictment is the existence of two criminal enterprises through which some of the defendants engaged in patterns of racketeering (RICO) activity. Yee and Keith Jackson acknowledged participating in one RICO conspiracy while Sullivan and Brandon Jackson admitted to participating in a related conspiracy.
On July 1, 2015, Yee and Keith Jackson pleaded guilty to using the Leland Yee for Mayor 2011 campaign and the Leland Yee for Secretary of State 2014 campaign to conduct RICO crimes. According to government filings, the conspiracy involved three different, but related, areas of criminal activity: (1) honest services fraud in which he exchanged official acts for money, (2) a weapons trafficking conspiracy, and (3) money laundering.
Federal wiretaps established in November 2012 revealed that Yee devised extortion schemes in which he “tutored and directed [Keith] Jackson.” Yee planned to obtain campaign contributions by leveraging his Senate committee vote on an upcoming decision to dissolve the California State Athletic Commission. According to the government’s papers, Yee requested campaign contributions from individuals interested in keeping the commission alive.
In the second scheme, Yee was prepared to vote for or against pending legislation on workers compensation for professional athletes playing in California, depending on which competing interest gave him the most money.
While addressing Yee, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer commented that the public has to have trust in the integrity of its institutions, but that Yee “abused that trust” and “did not have that integrity.” Breyer said that the fact that Yee’s vote as a state senator was “for sale” was, in his view, “a very serious violation of trust.”
Before being elected to the Senate, Yee served in the State Assembly, on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and on the San Francisco Board of Education. He withdrew from the California secretary of state race after being indicted, but his name remained on the ballot and he finished in third place with nearly 300,000 votes.
Breyer said that it was “inexplicable” and “hypocritical” that Yee, a child psychologist who was known as a strong advocate of gun control, was willing to go against his own principles and engage in weapons sales to raise funds.
Yee, who has been free pending sentencing, told the judge, “Nothing will ever take away those crimes and those actions. Nothing that I will ever do will take away the pain that I have caused to my family, friends, constituents, supporters.”
He also said that he wants to take care of his wife, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Keith Jackson, as part of his plea agreement, acknowledged that he participated in the RICO conspiracy with Yee and also admitted he committed several crimes to further the conspiracy. Among the activities Jackson acknowledged he participated in to further the conspiracy are accepting cash and checks for bribes, wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to illegally import firearms and ammunition from the Philippines.
Sullivan and Brandon Jackson pleaded guilty on July 1, 2015, to participating in a second RICO conspiracy described in the second superseding indictment. As part of their guilty pleas, both Sullivan and Brandon Jackson acknowledged being associated with a San Francisco Chinese American civic association headed by Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, who was also indicted, and conducting RICO crimes.
Chow was convicted in January of running his organization, the Ghee Kung Tong, as a criminal organization as a racketeering enterprise and murdering its former leaer, Allen Leung. He will be sentenced this month and faces a life term.
Sullivan and Brandon Jackson admitted that between September 2012 and March 2014, they arranged the purchase of cocaine and participated in multiple illegal firearms sales. They also admitted that they discussed with an undercover agent the need to kill an associate of the undercover agent.
Jackson admitted to telling the undercover agent he would gather intelligence and bring a family member from out of state to complete the murder-for-hire conspiracy. Sullivan admitted he received $10,000 to ensure that the job would be completed.
Breyer sentenced the defendants as follows:
Yee — 60 months, to begin within the next 30 days, a $20,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and forfeiture of certain property. (Prosecutors had sought an eight-year sentence.)
Keith Jackson — 108 months, to begin within the next 30 days, three years of supervised release, and forfeiture of certain property.
Marlon Sullivan: 66 months (including time already served), three years of supervised release, and forfeiture of certain property.
Brandon Jackson — 54 months (including time already served), three years of supervised release, and forfeiture of certain property.
The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, San Francisco Police Department Gang Task Force, Oakland Police Department-Criminal Investigation, New York Police Department, and Mercer County (N.J.) Sheriff’s Office.