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Two in South Bay school corruption case to be sentenced

A pair of defendants in the pay-for-play corruption case involving more than a dozen public school officials in the South Bay is expected to be sentenced Monday in Chula Vista.

Raj Chopra, the former Southwestern College president, and bond financier Gary Cabello -- a central figure in the case -- are scheduled to appear in the courtroom of Judge Ana Espana at 9 a.m. Monday.

The two had previously pleaded down from a combined list of 21 charges to accept much less -- one misdemeanor for Chopra and two counts of felony conspiracy to bribe officials for Cabello.

Chopra, represented by attorney Michael Attansio of Cooley LLP, will be sentenced on a charge of failing to report income. He initially faced nine felony charges, ranging from perjury by declaration and the receipt of a bribe to wrongful influence of a public official and conflict of interest.

Cabello, formerly of Alta Vista Financial Inc. and Cabrera Capital Markets LLC, initially faced 11 charges: five counts of conspiracy, four counts of offering a valuable thing to a governing board member and two counts of offering bribes.

Cabello's attorney is Stacie Patterson, of the Law Office of Stacie L. Patterson.

The case covers events and alleged wrongdoings dating back several years. It involves 18 individuals, from construction contractors seeking work to school officials in multiple districts awarding contracts, and the middlemen.

A third defendant, San Ysidro School District Governing Board Member Yolanda Hernandez, is also scheduled for sentencing Monday.

But a continuance is expected in Hernandez's case, according to the court clerk, as her attorney has notified the court that he will be at another trial proceeding. Hernandez is being represented by attorney Michael Crowley of Crowley Law Group. Facing charges that included two counts of perjury and two counts of filing false instrument, she pleaded to a single misdemeanor of filing false forms. Her new sentencing date is expected to be determined on Monday.

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