With the defense seeking more time to file a motion, sentencing was postponed today for former Mt. San Jacinto College police Chief Kevin Harold Segawa, who was fired for towing scams he perpetrated at the campus.
The 39-year-old was charged last December with bribery, destruction of evidence by a public official, and two counts each of perjury, submitting falsified documents and embezzlement — all felonies — as well as misdemeanor counts of concealing evidence and modifying a written notice to appear.
The defendant entered into a plea deal in June, on the day of his preliminary hearing, during which Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios J. Hernandez indicated he would likely sentence Segawa to a year in jail and several years probation.
The ex-cop has since sought to withdraw his guilty plea to bribery and other felony counts. His attorney, John Pozza, informed Hernandez today that he had not had time to file a motion for withdrawal, even though the sentencing has been delayed twice before for similar reasons.
Over the objections of Deputy District Attorney Abbie Marsh, Hernandez granted another postponement, giving the defense team until Dec. 10 to file its motion. The sentencing was rescheduled for Dec. 17.
Prosecutors alleged that between 2005 and 2008, Segawa sent 85 percent of the campus’s towing business to Pirot’s Towing, whose 40-year-old owner, Morgan Allen McComas, is charged with bribery and misappropriation of funds.
His trial is scheduled to get under way next month.
Segawa received a motorcycle, rims and tires for his pickup truck, about $120 in free lunches at a Riverside restaurant, tickets for a box seat at the Del Mar Racetrack and $75 in food and drinks at a 2006 Christmas party – none of which he declared, prosecutors said.
D.A.’s office investigators estimate McComas’ company may have earned as much as a half-million dollars from towing fees.
During a 13-month probe into the case, Mt. San Jacinto College police officers told investigators that Segawa directed or influenced them to tow vehicles and to regularly use Pirot, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Segawa also seized an ice cream cart in Menifee — off campus – turning the vendor over to immigration authorities for deportation and taking the ice cream home, dividing it between himself and a neighbor. The chief never signed or filed an arrest ticket, according to prosecutors.
Mt. San Jacinto College fired Segawa last fall. He remains free on bond.