SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Authorities announced Wednesday that San Francisco restaurateur Nick Bovis has agreed to cooperate with a federal investigation, pleading guilty to wire fraud charges in connection with a corruption scandal involving San Francisco Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru.
U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the San Francisco Division made the announcement with a press release Wednesday. The parties requested that a hearing be scheduled next Thursday before United States District Judge the Hon. William H. Orrick to allow the defendant to plead guilty to the charges by video conference.
Originally, 56-year-old San Mateo resident Bovis was charged in a criminal complaint filed on January 15 of this year alleging that Bovis and 57-year-old San Francisco resident Nuru had attempted to bribe an unnamed San Francisco Airport Commissioner with cash and free travel in early 2018. Nuru and Bovis allegedly were involved in a scheme to offer bribes in exchange for assistance from the commissioner to win a bid for the right to run a restaurant in the San Francisco International Airport.
The arrest of Bovis and Nuru in January led to over two dozen subpoenas against individuals and businesses the following month during a widening public corruption investigation.
Several San Francisco Supervisors have called for an independent investigation into the corruption allegations.
The new information filed by the government Wednesday charges Bovis with two separate crimes: honest services wire fraud and wire fraud. Bovis has signed a plea agreement indicating that he wishes to plead guilty to both crimes. The terms of the plea agreement require Bovis to cooperate with an ongoing investigation in addition to surrendering any assets acquired as a result of his illegal conduct.
The conduct underlying the crimes to which Bovis has pleaded guilty to were submitted to the court in a separate “Exhibit A” that was filed under seal. However, though the factual basis of the plea agreement is not public, information filed Wednesday reveals some details about the crimes to which Bovis has committed.
For example, the alleged honest services wire fraud began years prior to the fraud alleged in the original complaint, indicating that Bovis began participating in the honest services wire fraud scheme “at an unknown date, but at least as early as in or about 2015, and continuing through on or about January 28, 2020.” Additionally, the information alleges Bovis “participated in…a scheme to defraud the public of its right to the honest services of public officials, through bribery and kickbacks” and that Bovis transmitted a wire communication on March 22, 2018, in connection with the scheme.
With respect to the wire fraud count, the information alleges that Bovis participated in the scheme beginning April of 2018 and that he used wire communications in furtherance of the scheme.
Bovis faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count to which he has agreed to plead guilty. The court may order additional terms of supervised release and restitution.