By Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/20/16 – 9:02 PM PDT |

With $122.5 million in possible fines and restitution in the Beaumont corruption case, prosecutors are trying to secure the homes and bank accounts of some defendants — former top city officials charged with embezzlement and misappropriation of funds.

Among the properties put on temporary ice this week are two million-dollar homes, one in Mendocino and one in Cardiff by the Sea, nestled just blocks from the Pacific Ocean.

Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan granted a temporary restraining order to keep 14 homes and nearly 70 bank, savings, IRA and investment accounts associated with six of the seven defendants from being transferred, encumbered or disposed, pending a hearing.

The district attorney’s motion for the order is based on a section of the state’s white collar crime law that allows prosecutors to put those assets on hold for possible restitution or payment of fines if there are convictions.

The former city officials were charged Tuesday with misappropriating nearly $43 million from Beaumont over two decades in a case outlined in 94 felony charges.

In seeking to protect the homes and bank accounts from transfer, prosecutors calculate that the defendants may be liable for $36.6 million in victim restitution and for fines that could reach nearly $86 million.

“The total amount the defendants are liable to pay in this case is $122,541,033.80, which includes fines and victim restitution,” the district attorney’s office said in its bid for the temporary restraining order.

“This amount exceeds the total value of the assets subject to the temporary restraining order sought in this matter,” district attorney senior investigator Doug Doyle said in his declaration. In other words, it still won’t be enough.

A declaration in which a specialized real estate investigator made a forensic review of the properties included outstanding loan amounts due, which appeared to affect the recovery value of some homes.

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