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Former Glendale Councilman John Drayman indicted on charges of embezzlement

Grand jury names 28 counts against Drayman including perjury and money laundering.

May 08, 2012|By Jason Wells, Veronica Rocha and Brittany Levine, Times Community News
  • Former Glendale city councilmember John Drayman arrives at the C. S. Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles to be arraigned on charges on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
Former Glendale city councilmember John Drayman arrives… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Former Councilman John Drayman was indicted Tuesday on charges that he embezzled at least $304,000 from the weekly farmers market in Montrose.

In a 28-count grand jury indictment unsealed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, prosecutors also allege that Drayman committed perjury when he excluded earnings sources on Fair Political Practices forms, submitted a bogus credit application in 2010 to a mortgage lender and falsified tax returns to hide the embezzlement, which they say occurred between January 2004 and April 2011.

Drayman, who was arraigned on the felony charges at a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, pleaded not guilty. He is accused of: one count of embezzlement, 10 counts of filing false tax returns, five counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery, one count filing a false financial statement and eight counts of perjury by declaration.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Atty. Susan Schwartz said in court that the evidence shows Drayman deposited funds he collected from the Montrose Harvest Market into his own bank accounts, and the extent of embezzlement may have reached $880,000.

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She also alleged that Drayman was uncooperative with authorities during the course of the investigation.

“He has consistently lied to them,” Schwartz said.

Drayman — who faces 10 years in prison if convicted — was silent and reserved during much of the hearing.

His attorney, Michael Kraut, rebuffed Schwartz’ characterization in court.

“Mr. Drayman has been cooperating with this investigation,” said Kraut, who specializes in representing executives accused of white-collar crimes.

The indictment caps a year-long Glendale police investigation into allegations of embezzlement brought by the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., which operates the Harvest Market every Sunday.

The event had been logging steady losses as early as 2011, when organizers estimated they would lose $52,000 on the venture.

In the years since he helped create the Harvest Market in 2002, Drayman maintained an active role in the market, even after his election to the City Council in 2007.

But amid steep revenue losses, the association’s board of directors created a “Harvest Market Oversight Committee” in April 2011 and instituted a new procedure for collecting and recording weekly cash payments from vendors. Around the same time, Drayman was removed from his role in helping with the event for which some vendors said he collected cash payments.

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