Former Bell Council Member Victor Bello faced a judge today for his role in the Bell corruption scandal that still is making national headlines years after the story first broke. The part-time council member earned a salary of over $100,000 a year despite the city itself being one of the poorest in the whole state. For his role in the scandal, Bello was given one year in Los Angeles County Jail, five years' probation, 500 hours of community service, and $177,000 in restitution.
In addition to his time as a council member with Bell, Bello has also worked as a phone jack installer.
Bello is the last of the seven Bell officials to enter the courtroom and recieve his punishment for his role in the case that has quickly become a ubiquitous symbol for greed and corruption in local government. His punishment was similar to the rest of his colleagues, such as Oscar Bello, who also got one year in jail, or Teresa Jacobo, another council member who recieved two years of jail-time. The lightest of the sentences was received by former mayor George Cole, who was given 180 days of home confinement.
Bello's case was slightly different, because he was the only one of the seven on trial that brought up financial irregularities to district attorney’s investigators months before the scandal was blown wide open by a LA Times article in June of 2010.
In contrast to the one year in jail sentence a majority of the Bell council members receieved, the city's top administrators, Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia, both were given 12 years in prison.