Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa will face felony charges for actions committed while in public office. The five-month investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office was triggered by reports in Metro and San Jose Inside that Shirakawa had used campaign funds and public monies for personal use, including payments to family members, casino trips, alcohol purchases and expensive meals.
The investigation culminated Friday with the elected official being charged with four felony counts of perjury, one felony count of misappropriation of public funds and six misdemeanors for failure to file campaign forms.
Shirakawa, who self-surrendered to the county jail for booking Friday morning, moved more than $130,000 in and out of campaign accounts and public money accounts for personal use in the last five years. He is being represented by noted criminal attorney John Williams. In a statement announcing his resignation Friday, Shirakawa said he will plead guilty to all charges on March 18.
In the complaint, the first count of perjury notes that Shirakawa stated his “George Shirakawa for School Board” campaign had a cash balance of $12,399.49 as of June 30, 2008, when, in fact, he knew the account was overdrawn. Shirakawa also lied that there were only three account transactions between July 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2008, when there were actually “at least twenty,” according to the complaint. These transactions, which included cash deposits, were then “followed by expenditures at casinos.”
Shirakawa repeatedly misused cash contributions during his run for supervisor in 2008 to gamble at casinos.
Between May 18-June 30, 2008, Shirakawa did not note more than $20,000 in expenditures at casinos on his campaign disclosure form, according to the complaint. From July 1-Sept. 30, 2008, Shirakawa had more than $60,000 in unreported expenditures at casinos. Between Oct. 19-Dec. 31, 2008, Shirakawa spent more than $5,000 at casinos, and in 2009, Shirakawa spent $30,000 at casinos in the first half of the year without reporting the charges.
Prosecutors also claim that Shirakawa perjured himself when signing forms that Paz Rocha—father of San Jose Councilmember Don Rocha—handled treasury duties for his school board account between July 31, 2006 and Sept. 26, 2012. Investigators believe Shirakawa may have had Rocha’s signature forged to continue the scheme.
We will continue to update this story with more details.—Editor