San Francisco, California - San Francisco restauranteur Nick James Bovis has agreed to cooperate with a federal investigation and to plead guilty to honest services wire fraud and wire fraud charges alleged in a newly-filed criminal information, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the San Francisco Division. The parties have requested that a hearing be scheduled on Thursday, May 21, 2020, before the Hon. William H. Orrick, United States District Judge, to allow the defendant to plead guilty to the charges by videoconference.
Originally, Bovis, 56, of San Mateo, was charged in a criminal complaint filed January 15, 2020. The original complaint alleged that Bovis and San Francisco Director of Public Works Mohammed Colin Nuru, 57, of San Francisco, attempted to bribe an unnamed San Francisco Airport Commissioner. Specifically, the complaint charged that beginning in January of 2018, and until April of 2018, Nuru and Bovis attempted to use cash and free travel to bribe the airport commissioner. Nuru and Bovis allegedly were involved in a scheme to offer bribes in exchange for assistance from the commissioner to win a bid for the right to run a restaurant in the San Francisco International Airport.
The new information filed by the government today charges Bovis with two separate crimes: honest services wire fraud and wire fraud. Bovis has signed a plea agreement indicating that he wishes to plead guilty to both crimes.
The terms of the plea agreement would require Bovis to cooperate with an ongoing investigation and to surrender assets acquired as a result of his illegal conduct.
The conduct underlying the crimes to which Bovis has admitted were submitted to the court in a separate “Exhibit A” that was filed under seal and thus is not available to the public. Although the factual basis of the plea agreement is not public, the information filed today provides details about the crimes to which Bovis has pleaded guilty. For example, the alleged honest services wire fraud began years prior to the fraud alleged in the original complaint. Specifically, the information alleges that Bovis began participating in the honest services wire fraud scheme “at an unknown date, but at least as early as in or about 2015, and continuing through on or about January 28, 2020.” Further, the information alleges Bovis “participated in . . . a scheme to defraud the public of its right to the honest services of public officials, through bribery and kickbacks . . .” and that Bovis transmitted a wire communication on March 22, 2018, in connection with the scheme.
With respect to the wire fraud count, the information alleges that Bovis participated in the scheme beginning April of 2018 and that the he used wire communications in furtherance of the scheme.
Bovis faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count to which he has agreed to plead guilty. In addition, the court may order additional terms of supervised release and restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office of the U.S. Attorney, Northern District of California’s new Corporate Fraud Strike Force and is the result of an investigation by the FBI.