LOS ANGELES – The former president and CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce plead guilty Friday in Los Angeles to wire fraud and other federal charges.
Todd Ament has agreed to enter his plea to submitting a false tax return, lying to a mortgage lender and two counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ament’s plea agreement requires him to cooperate with the government and pay almost $250,000 in back taxes.
Ament is accused of scheming with another unnamed political consultant to launder money through the chamber to help him acquire a home in the San Bernardino Mountains, prosecutors said.
Ament allegedly solicited a $225,000 payment from an unnamed person and cannabis company to the chamber to create a cannabis task force that would lobby Anaheim officials.
The unnamed consultant paid at least $41,000 in kickbacks to Ament, who put the money in his bank account, federal prosecutors allege.
Ament and the unnamed co-conspirator transferred $85,000 through several banks to the chamber’s bank account, according to documents filed in L.A. federal court.
The defendant was also accused of defrauding the Small Business Administration’s program providing COVID-19 pandemic relief. He allegedly received $61,900 in loans, but used the money for personal expenses such as property taxes on his home and to make purchases at clothing and boating stores.
Ament was also accused of tax fraud by failing to report income.
The initial charge against Ament came a day after a federal search warrant affidavit targeting then-Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu was made public.