Placer campaign aide’s embezzlement scheme bilked three candidates of $24K

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
Brian Jagger juggled work on three Placer County political campaigns last year but, unknown to the candidates, he was fleecing all three for a total of more than $24,000. An overview of Jagger’s embezzlement schemes are outlined in documents filed with the U.S. District Court and form the foundation for sentencing Nov. 14 in Sacramento. Jagger, who pleaded guilty in July to a single count of wire fraud, has agreed to pay what is being described in court papers as “full restitution” to District Attorney Scott Owens, Supervisor Kirk Uhler and Auditor-Controller Kathy Martinis. Owens is to receive $22,950 while Uhler will be reimbursed $1,654 and Martinis $808. A single-page account of acts by Jagger provide a factual basis for the guilty plea on an interstate wire fraud charge and reimbursement to the three candidates’ campaign funds: - Around July 6, 2010, Jagger made a claim against the Uhler campaign for an expense related to hiring sign holders and telephone callers. Using an e-mail from Chicago to Placer County, Jagger said that he needed $1,600 in cash. From Illinois, Jagger instructed another person working for Uhler’s candidacy to deposit $1,600 into his account in a Placer County bank. “There does not appear to be documentation to corroborate his claim that these funds were paid out on behalf of the campaign,” a factual basis for plea states. - On July 6, 2010, again in Chicago, Jagger made an interstate telephone call to transfer $1,500 from Owens’ election account to Jagger’s personal bank account in California. - On July 7, 2010, Jagger asked Owens for a loan, court records accompanying his guilty plea state. “Jagger later told an investigator that he recalled it being for several thousand dollars while Owens recalls it being for $2,000,” the factual basis for plea states. But, already, by July 7, Jagger had converted $3,000 to his own use from Owens’ campaign funds, documents state. “Between April 28, 2010 and Oct. 14, 2010, Jagger used wire transfers, telephone transfers and personal checks to transfer $22,950 from Owens’ campaign fund to Jagger’s own personal bank account,” the list of purported facts for the case states. - The list also states Jagger had a debit card to make withdrawals from the Martinis campaign-fund bank account. Between April 10, 2010, and Sept. 10, 2010, Jagger used the debit card to make $1,647 in withdrawals and purchases for his own benefit, court papers state. In July, after the plea deal was made public, Owens issued a statement saying he was satisfied Jagger had accepted responsibility and had already made significant efforts at paying restitution. The allegations against Jagger – who also served as Supervisor Kirk Uhler’s $95,200-a-year district aide – were initially investigated by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office before being turned over to the U.S. Department of Justice. Jagger’s contract as a Uhler appointee was not renewed this year. Uhler said Monday that Jagger has reimbursed the funds missing from his campaign coffers. “I wish Brian and his family all the best in the future,” Uhler said. “He did pay me back but it’s something that he’ll be paying for over a longer period of time.” Jagger was due to be sentenced next Monday by U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb. But Jagger attorney Kyle Knapp of Sacramento requested more time to prepare and hand over pre-sentencing materials to probation officers. Prosecuting attorney Matthew Segal agreed to the extension into November. Knapp could not be reached for comment Monday. The court documents did not say what the money taken by Jagger from the three accounts was used for. Jagger faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.