SBIA

Sunday, April 19, 2015 – 11:00 a.m.

Another high-profile prosecution has hit the skids.

The San Bernardino International Airport (SBIA) fraud case has been continued until August 5.

Defendants Scott Spencer and Felice Luciano are accused of defrauding SBIA of $1.75 million dollars, in 2008, using a phony contract falsely purporting to involve the Democratic National Committee.

Spencer, a former executive of the now-defunct 80’s-era Braniff Airlines, was convicted of bankruptcy fraud and barred from the aviation industry. He was nevertheless hired to rejuvenate the former Norton Air Force base, which closed in 1994. The airport, with nearly $300 million invested, remains essentially a ghost town today, with no passenger or freight air traffic landing on runways.

Local officials have unsuccessfully tried to defend the “Black Hole” that has consumed a fortune in property tax increment.

The latest development occurred at a hearing on April 16. Spencer, who was previously declared indigent, has replaced his public defender and retained Riverside Attorney Brent Romney.

This high-profile case, now in its third year, was filed March 22, 2013 and the subject of a San Bernardino County District Attorney press conference.

There have been fourteen court hearings since the case was filed. No preliminary hearing date has been set.

Both defendants remain out of custody on bail.

Federal prosecutors deferred to the District Attorney to bring charges against Spencer and company. Unfortunately the 5-year federal statute of limitations is elapsing on any others that Spencer could potentially implicate.