The government has added new charges in the high-profile corruption case against suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, Chinatown association leader Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and 27 others.
Yee and Chow are both accused of racketeering, or running a continuing criminal enterprise, in the revised grand jury indictment unveiled late Thursday, in two separate counts of the indictment.
Yee, a Democrat who represented parts of San Francisco and San Mateo County, is charged together with former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson with racketeering by soliciting bribes and campaign contributions in exchange for political favors by Yee.
Chow is accused together with Jackson and 15 other defendants of racketeering by allegedly running drug sales, money laundering, gun sales and schemes to buy stolen property through an alleged criminal faction of the Chee Kung Tong, a fraternal association.
Chow is the dragonhead or leader of the Chee Kung Tong, based in Chinatown in San Francisco.
The racketeering counts carry a possible maximum penalty of 20 years in prison upon conviction.
Legal analyst Dean Johnson says that means everyone in the case is looking at the potential for serious prison time.
“I think some of these people who are currently names as defendants might very well turn up later as government witnesses,” Johnson said.
One who will not be taking a deal is Chow. His attorney Curtis Briggs said Chow is a reformed gangster who has been swept up in the FBI’s three-year undercover investigation.
Briggs said the whole raft of crimes detailed by the feds is a fabrication by FBI agents.
“Anything these informants can say that would actually hurt – there is no evidence to support any statements,” Briggs said.
The new indictment is actually good news for Chow, Briggs said. “For them to come out with a superseding indictment that essentially alleges the same facts as the original indictment is a sign of weakness in their prosecution.”
The 88-page revised indictment, known as a superseding indictment, contains a total of 228 counts against various of the defendants. It repeats a number of charges in an earlier indictment, including a charge that Yee, Jackson and Daly City dentist Wilson Lim conspired in a never-completed international arms deal.
One other interesting detail: Leland Yee is accused of trying to get an NFL owner to pony up $60,000 in exchange for limiting a player’s ability to make a workman’s comp claim in California.
A status conference is scheduled for Aug. 7 in San Francisco before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, the trial judge assigned to the case.
Bay City News contributed to this report.