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Former City Councilman Sentenced To Home Confinement In Bell Corruption Scandal

LOS ANGELES ( — A former councilman was sentenced Wednesday for his involvement in a massive public corruption case that nearly bankrupted the city of Bell, officials said.

According to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, George Cole, 64, was sentenced to 180 days of home confinement with GPS monitoring, five years of probation, 1,000 hours of community service and ordered to pay more than $77,000 in restitution to the city.

Cole was elected to the Bell City Council in 1984 and served continuously until October 2008.

According to officials, before retiring in 2008, the former councilman made more than $75,000 in one year after serving on two fake boards — the Surplus Property Authority and the Community Housing Authority — that the council created.

Cole was convicted of two counts of misappropriation of public funds in March 2013, and pleaded no contest to a third count in April to avoid a retrial, officials said.

Two other former Bell officials, Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia, have been sentenced in addition to Cole.

Cole is the second of five former council members to be sentenced in this corruption scandal who were convicted of stealing a total of nearly $1 million, the District Attorney's Office said.

According to authorities, former Vice Mayor Teresa Jacobo is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, former Mayor Oscar Hernandez on July 31, and Aug. 1 for former council member Victor Bello.

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