After collecting a taxpayer paycheck for nearly a quarter of a century as a sheriff’s deputy and cop, Daniel Vasquez made his turn to more obvious crimes by swindling elderly citizens out of their life savings.
Vasquez, who also served in the U.S. Marines, used more than $2 million in loot collected from 2010 to 2014 to remodel his home, pay off personal credit card bills, live the good life and buy luxury vehicles.
Meanwhile, some of his victims have been left moving in with their adult children or living in poverty.
“I worked very hard all my life and did not retire until age 70,” one victim told U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse. “I sent [him] all my savings, which were to be my retirement earnings. My social security check does not support me.”
Another victim advised Selna, “Our complete loss was approximately $800,000 and that had a major financial impact on our retirement plans. Mr. Vasquez has no feelings for anybody but himself. . . . He singlehandedly ruined lives without any consideration, remorse or feelings.”
Working with the FBI, Santa Ana prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office sought a prison term of 51-months for the defendant, a native of the Bronx, New York.
The defense claimed the 57-year-old Vasquez got innocently entangled in a “crumbling” business that he couldn’t save and the victims should blame themselves for not being more wise with their investments.
They sought a term of no more than 37 months.
But this week, Selna determined the appropriate punishment is 41 months in prison.
When Vasquez, a Ladera Ranch resident, emerges from custody for the financial fraud, he’ll undergo supervised probation for three years.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.