Silvia Associate Hit with New Felony Charges
Former Mayor Anthony Silva and longtime associate Sharon Simas are facing felony embezzlement, money-laundering and conflict-of-interest charges, according to a document filed at San Joaquin County Superior Court by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.
The city of Stockton is listed as a victim in the complaint, which was filed last week.
Additionally, Silva is charged with illegally possessing ammunition and obtaining a firearm.
“These new charges filed by the District Attorney’s Office are independent of the existing (2017) indictment faced by Silva,” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau said in a statement Wednesday.
Silva already was facing six felony counts from an embezzlement case after a grand jury indictment in March 2017. The trial in that case is scheduled to begin Nov. 5.
Attorney Allen Sawyer, representing 43-year-old Silva, said his client will “plead not guilty and vigorously defend himself” against the new charges. Ken Rosenfeld, the attorney for 76-year-old Simas, said the charges against the 1998 Stocktonian of the Year are “egregious.”
“It’s bush-league tactics to try to intimidate us,” said Rosenfeld, whose client faces five felony charges. “It’s not going to work. It is shameful what the D.A.’s Office is trying to do to a very proud and accomplished woman. She’s a senior citizen, for God’s sakes.”
Silva and Simas have long-standing ties.
Simas was executive assistant to the mayor when Silva held the office from 2013-16. Additionally, Simas was president of the board at the Stockton Boys & Girls Club during the latter stages of Silva’s tenure there as chief executive officer. And at one time, Silva and Simas were co-owners of a house in Morada.
In late 2013, Silva admitted he had bypassed applying for a $49,000 grant to avoid an audit by the Boys & Girls Club of America. The national organization subsequently revoked the Stockton club’s charter.
Using the defunct Boys & Girls Club’s tax identification and bank account numbers, Silva and Simas renamed the Olympic Circle site the Kids Club of Stockton, Sawyer said.
Sawyer said the alleged conflict of interest for Silva and Simas is that as the mayor and executive assistant, they directed grants of the mayor’s discretionary city of Stockton funds to the Kids Club.
Silva’s attorney also said the indictment wrongfully includes nearly $20,000 from a legal settlement received by the Boys & Girls Clubs that wound up in the coffers of the reconstituted Kids Club.
“These are allegations and that’s all they are,” Sawyer said.
Rosenfeld said of Simas, “Why should she steal a penny? She has plenty of money.”
Sawyer said he anticipates the new charges against Silva being consolidated with the 2017 case. If that happens, the start of the November trial may be delayed, Sawyer said.
Silva appeared in court on Sept. 25 to be arraigned on the new charges. Both Silva and Simas are scheduled to appear in court next on Oct. 16.
Additionally, Sawyer said the weapons charges — which are tied to Silva’s plea-bargained deal in a completely separate case in Amador County — should not have been filed. He said Silva was unaware he was not permitted to possess the weapon and ammunition.