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California bond adviser avoids prison in school bribe case

A California bond underwriter got three years’ probation for plying school officials in San Diego County with meals and sports tickets worth thousands of dollars to steer business to his employers.

Gary Allen Cabello, 55, who faced as long as four years and four months in prison at his sentencing Monday, was also ordered to perform community service and pay a $7,990 fine after San Diego Superior Court Judge Ana Espana cited his cooperation with authorities and reduced his two felony convictions to misdemeanors.

Cabello, who pleaded guilty in October, told the judge he was very remorseful and took full responsibility for his crimes. According to a grand jury indictment, he wooed elected board members and superintendents of the Sweetwater Union High School District and Southwestern Community College District with campaign contributions in addition to the meals and tickets.

County prosecutors have charged 18 other people, most of them school officials, in a case involving three school districts and a community college district. Fifteen of the officials and others involved in the case have pleaded guilty so far, Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr said.

Cabello worked for two firms during the period outlined in the indictment, now-defunct Alta Vista Financial Inc. and Cabrera Capital Markets LLC, based in Chicago.

Stacie Patterson, a defense attorney, told the judge that Cabello “lost his license, hisjob, his car, his home and his whole social network as a result of his conviction and is unable to find employment.”

The case is People v. Cabello, SCD235445, California Superior Court, San Diego County (San Diego).

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