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Apple’s security chief indicted in Santa Clara County sheriff concealed-gun permit scandal – The Mercury News


Apple’s global security chief has been indicted on allegations he worked with the Santa Clara County undersheriff to gift 200 iPads to hasten the approval of concealed-gun permits for the tech titan’s security officers, the latest eye-grabbing development in a corruption probe engulfing the office of Sheriff Laurie Smith.

Thomas Moyer, 50, who heads security for the iconic Silicon Valley company, was indicted last week along with Undersheriff Rick Sung, District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced Monday morning. To date, six people — including another close Smith adviser — have been indicted in an investigation alleging pay-to-play deals leveraging concealed-carry weapons permits for political and other favors.

Rosen said Sung, 48, is the highest ranking county law-enforcement official his office has ever prosecuted. The latest indictments are an offshoot of an investigation into the sheriff’s office’s alleged trading of the coveted permits for political donations supporting Smith’s 2018 re-election.

“Call this quid pro quo, call it pay to play, call it give to get,” Rosen said. “It is illegal, and deeply erodes public confidence in the criminal-justice system. When high-ranking members of a law-enforcement agency are at the heart of a bribery scheme, it tarnishes the badge, the honor, and the reputations, and tragically the effectiveness of all law-enforcement agencies.”

Rosen said the iPad donations were shelved once the original DA investigation into corruption allegations involving the gun permits — leading to the earlier indictment of Jensen and three others — began serving search warrants in August 2019.

Attorney Ed Swanson said Moyer’s bribery indictment was “collateral damage” in a rivalry between Rosen and Smith’s office.

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“Tom Moyer is innocent of the charges filed against him,” the statement reads. “We look forward to making Tom’s innocence clear in court and bringing an end to this wrong-headed prosecution.”

A statement issued by Apple on Monday similarly backed Moyer: “After learning of the allegations, we conducted a thorough internal investigation and found no wrongdoing.”

Jensen, 43, was indicted a second time, in connection with the Moyer allegation, and insurance broker Harpreet Chadha, 49, was separately indicted alongside Sung on allegations Sung leveraged a concealed weapons permit to “extract” $6,000 worth of luxury-box seats for a Feb. 14, 2019, San Jose Sharks game. The luxury box was used to toast Smith’s 2018 election to a sixth term in office.

According to his LinkedIn page Chadha is a member of the Sheriff’s Advisory Board, a nonprofit supporting the sheriff’s office with equipment and other donations. He could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.

Sung’s attorney, Chuck Smith, said he plans to “defeat these charges.”

“There was no quid pro quo with Apple or Harpreet. Apple has a history of donating supplies to law enforcement, and there’s no connection between the donation and permits,” Smith said. “(Chadha) wanted to do this gesture to allow the luxury suite to be used to celebrate Laurie Smith’s re-election. He has had a gun permit for a long time.”

The new complaint also indicates former longtime South Bay Rep. Mike Honda was called to testify before the grand jury. Records do not show Honda as having a concealed weapons permit within the past five years. The DA’s office declined to comment, deferring to grand-jury transcripts that won’t be publicly available for weeks.

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The new indictments were issued by a grand jury Thursday, after first convening in early November. Sung, Smith, Moyer, Jensen and Chadha were not called to testify to the latest jury.

The indictment of Sung, a fierce Smith supporter who saw a meteoric rise to become the sheriff’s office second-in-command, brings one of the biggest political scandals in Santa Clara County history to the edge of Smith’s desk. She has the sole statutory authority in her office to issue the concealed-carry weapons permits and has not been charged; along with Sung she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination to an earlier criminal grand jury in August.

Smith has long been criticized for her office’s discretion in issuing permits, and accused of favoritism toward prominent figures and campaign donors.

The expectation Sung would be prosecuted was seeded by grand-jury testimony in which a DA investigator said Jensen, described as a linchpin in the previously alleged conspiracy, told him Sung helped direct illicit political contributions to an independent expenditure committee supporting Smith.

Campaign finance records show Moyer donated $1,000 to Smith’s 2018 campaign, and concealed weapons permit records show that in January 2019, four Apple executive security employees were issued permits. July testimony from a sheriff’s sergeant handling permit applications said he heard Sung mention meeting with Apple to arrange the donation of iPads to the agency’s West Valley division.

However, the DA complaint released Monday states that the iPad donation agreement occurred after February 2019; information reconciling that timeline was not immediately available.

Other testimony, from the same sergeant, recalled how Sung ordered him to push through Chandha’s permit application while it was still pending fingerprint processing.

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