Lead Story West Edition

Port police chief pleads not guilty to corruption, tax charges

LOS ANGELES — The chief of police for the Port of Los Angeles pleaded not guilty Friday to federal corruption and tax charges.

Ronald Jerome Boyd, 57, of Torrance, was indicted last month in Los Angeles on charges of wire fraud, making false statements to the FBI and tax evasion.

Boyd, the chief of police at the busiest container port in the country for more than a decade, was placed on administrative leave immediately after the indictment was unsealed on April 30.

He is accused of hiding his links to a software company that he helped to obtain a contract with the port.

After entering a plea, Boyd was released from custody on an unsecured $100,000 appearance bond by U.S. Magistrate Judge Victor B. Kenton.

His attorneys had no immediate comment.

Federal prosecutors allege that Boyd, who once worked as a valet to singer Ray Charles, defrauded the city “by means of bribery and kickbacks” and provided confidential information about the port to the software vendor, the indictment states.

He is accused of helping the software developer obtain a contract with the city of Los Angeles while forming an undisclosed joint venture with the company and then lying about it in an interview with federal agents.

“The city and Port of Los Angeles will fully cooperate in the investigation,” Gene Seroka, the port’s executive director, said at the time the charges were announced.

If convicted of the 16 counts against him, Boyd could face multiple years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.