Little, money, lots of burn in this case, it would seem.

FBI agents today arrested a Rialto cop and an Orange County defense attorney for allegedly taking cash for a defendant in exchange for telling prosecutors he was an informant who deserves easy treatment.

The alleged bribe was only worth $2,500, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. The fallout? Priceless:

Forty-one-year-old Rialto police Officer Aaron Scott Vigil of Highland, and 67-year-old criminal defense attorney Lawrence Anthony Witsoe of Mission Viejo were named last week in a three-count indictment unsealed this morning.

The U.S. Attorney's Office:

The indictment … alleges that Vigil, who served as a task force officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, agreed to accept a $2,500 bribe in exchange for falsely telling the Orange County District Attorney's Office that a criminal defendant being represented by Witsoe was a cooperator who had provided information to the DEA.

The idea, say the feds, was that the duo could allegedly get the case dismissed — for a fee. All they would have to do, allegedly, is get Vigil to tell the Orange County D.A.'s office that the suspect was a valuable informant.

Feds say Vigil did just that, telling prosecutors the man dropped a dime on drug traffickers, leading to $110,000 in seizures. This went down in fall, 2009.

Both men face charges of conspiracy and soliciting and bribery. The suspects were due in court this afternoon. If convicted Vigil could see 20 years; Witsoe could see 35 years.


LA Weekly