General Crime

* Clay Rojas Former Santa Clara Police Officer Sentenced For Giving Information to Hells Angels

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A former Santa Clara police officer was sentenced in federal court in San Jose today to three years in prison for giving confidential law enforcement information to a Hells Angels motorcycle club member to whom he owed money. Clay Rojas, 37, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh. Rojas was convicted by a jury in Koh’s court in July of 12 charges related to providing computerized crime and motor vehicle information to William Bettencourt, 39, a member of the Santa Cruz Hells Angels chapter, between June and September 2010.

The convictions included conspiracy to deprive Santa Clara taxpayers of honest services, five counts of honest services fraud and six counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer for financial gain. The information included material from the state Department of Motor Vehicles and state and national crime databases, according to a federal grand jury indictment. Rojas, a five-year veteran of the Santa Clara Police Department, was arrested in October 2010 on suspicion of giving Bettencourt the information.

Rojas borrowed money from Bettencourt to help finance a private business he had established to sell police-related equipment, according to a sentencing brief filed by defense attorney Thomas Ferrito. In testimony at his trial, Rojas admitted providing Bettencourt computerized information in 2010 and said he owed Bettencourt about $1,400 in a no-interest loan at the time. But he testified, “I did it just as a favor to a friend,” and contended he did not intend to receive financial gain.

Prosecutors, however, in a sentencing brief cited statements made by Rojas to a police officer after his arrest, in which he said he had borrowed a total of $5,000 and provided the information in exchange for loan extensions and avoidance of paying interest. Before joining the Santa Clara Police Department, Rojas was a police officer in Salinas and San Jose and served two tours of combat duty as a Marine in Iraq.

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  • I know Clay Rojas very well, I’ve known him for years. Been to his house many times for various functions, and I never thought he would go this route. Clay is a good guy who made a bad choice, poor decisions, and kept some bad company. Its things like this that make me circumspect of the company I keep. Dont break the law, nor hang out with folks who break the law. Too many folks I know have ruined their lives with the bad choices they’ve made. More than I can count. I got friends and family members who have pissed their lives away with felonies for drugs, burglary, robberies, assaults on people, you name it, and a few have committed murder and been accessories to murder. Now a days felonies lock you out of everything. Cant get a job, cant vote, cant get food stamps, cant get an apartment, and cant even get in certain schools, its fucked up. Its not worth it, life is hard enough without a felony, why do a crime and get caught and make shit worse for yourself, why? Its not worth it man, its really not.

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