A grand jury has issued a pair of indictments accusing Apple’s head of global security, two high-ranking officials from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and a local business owner of exchanging bribes for concealed gun permits.
At a press conference today, District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced the charges against Apple’s Chief Security Officer Thomas Moyer, insurance broker Harpreet Chadha, Undersheriff Rick Sung and Capt. James Jensen.
Sung—second in rank only to Sheriff Laurie Smith in the sheriff’s office—is accused of deliberately holding back four concealed carry weapons (CCW) permits for Apple’s security team until the Cupertino-based corporation agreed to donate 200 iPads worth about $75,000 to the Sheriff’s Office, Rosen said. Sung and Jensen allegedly worked together to solicit the exchange of CCW permits for the tech donation from Apple.
“The donation was pulled back at the 11th hour when our search warrants into this probe began” in August 2019, Rosen said Monday.
In another incident, Sung “extracted” a promise from Chadha for $6,000 worth of luxury box suites at a San Jose Sharks game on Valentine’s Day, 2019, before issuing Chadha a CCW permit, Rosen said.
“Sheriff Laurie Smith’s family members and some of her biggest supporters held a celebration of her reelection as sheriff in Chadha’s suite,” Rosen said.
In a written statement, Rosen said Sung and Jensen “treated CCW licenses as commodities and found willing buyers.”
“Bribe seekers should be reported to the District Attorney’s Office, not rewarded with compliance,” he admonished.
Moyer, Chadha and other defendants should not have accepted the offered bribes, but should have reported Sung and Jensen to the DA’s office, Rosen added.
Attorneys for Moyer and Chadha maintain their clients’ innocence, saying they were collateral damage in an ongoing political rivalry between Rosen and Sheriff Smith.
“Tom Moyer is innocent of the charges filed against him,” hie attorney Ed Swanson said. “He did nothing wrong and has acted with the highest integrity throughout his career. We have no doubt that he will be acquitted at trial.”
Guy Jinkerton, who represents Chadha, echoed the sentiment. “Based on what I know of the relevant facts,” he said, “as well as the voluminous exculpatory documents that I furnished to the prosecutor, to be made available to the grand jury, this indictment of Harpreet Chadha appears to be a grave miscarriage of justice.”
In a statement posted to Twitter shortly after the press conference, the Sheriff’s Office said: “This is a difficult time for our organization, however, our goal remains to provide the highest level of public safety to the residents of Santa Clara County. The hundreds of men and women who represent the Sheriff’s Office will continue to serve our community with compassion, honesty and integrity.”
Smith has not been charged with a crime in the DA’s investigation, which began about two years ago. In response to questions at Monday’s press conference, Rosen said the investigation is ongoing and his office or another grand jury may issue more indictments.
Sung, Jensen, Moyer and Chadha will be arraigned Jan. 11 at the San Jose Hall of Justice. If convicted, they could face prison time.
The DA’s continued announcements about the CCW investigation in recent months have suggested that corruption and bribery in the issuing of weapons permits were entrenched in the sheriff’s office’s highest ranks as Smith was seeking re-election in 2018.
“Call this quid pro quo, call it pay to play, call it give to get—it is illegal,” Rosen said. “It is illegal and it 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, the reputations, and, tragically, the effectiveness of all law enforcement agencies.”
The investigation has already led Rosen to Facebook’s security team.
In recent months, officials associated with AS Solution—a company that contracts with Facebook to provide executive protection—have pleaded guilty in connection to the case. Namely, they are ex-AS Solution CEO Christian West and two of his former managers, Martin Nielsen and Jack Stromgren.
With Moyer, the DA has drawn a line to yet another Silicon Valley giant.
According to his bio on the UC Hastings Law School’s Center for Business Law website, Moyer is the chief compliance and security officer at Apple Inc.
“He has overall responsibility for Apple’s ethics and compliance program including Apple’s Business Conduct Policy, governing the ethical and legal obligations of Apple’s Board, executives and over 130,000 employees around the world,” it reads. “Tom is also responsible for Apple’s global security program including crisis management, physical security, loss prevention, technology, security related investigations and the secrecy of new products and prototypes.”
Prior to Apple, Moyer worked as an associate at the Fenwick & West law firm and as an intelligence specialist with the US Navy.
Sheriff Laurie Smith, who has the authority to issue CCW permits, has not been charged with a crime.
Other defendants in the case include attorneys Christopher Schumb and Harpaul Nahal and The Gun Co. owner Michael Nichols. Schumb’s lawyer has asked an appeals court to take Rosen off the case, citing conflicts of interest.
Rosen said the investigation is ongoing.
Jennifer Wadsworth contributed to this report.