Prison in guns-for-drugs case

first_imgAccused of trading guns for drugs with members of a notorious street gang, former Glendale businessman Scott Schaffer pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal gun charge in exchange for a five-year prison sentence. Schaffer was the longtime boyfriend of Burbank City Councilwoman Stacey Murphy, who resigned her city post in August after investigators probing Schaffer’s links with the Vineland Boys gang found guns and cocaine at her home. “This is a just conclusion to the case,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Young. “The defendant pled guilty to the most serious charge that he faced. It accurately reflects his criminal conduct and the assistance he provided to Vineland Boys gang members.” In a hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court, Schaffer, 52, entered his plea to one count of trading two guns to a member of the Vineland Boys gang in exchange for cocaine, authorities said. Free on $1 million bond, he is due in court in June to be sentenced to at least five years in federal prison. If Schaffer had gone to trial and been convicted on all counts, he faced up to 45 years in prison. In an interview after the hearing, Schaffer admitted he made mistakes and said it was important to resolve the case for which he spent a total of 36 days in solitary confinement before being released on bond. “Without question I made some bad mistakes, and I am devastated of the consequences to my friends and Stacey Murphy,” said Schaffer, who had been co-owner of Sun Valley-based City Cab. Schaffer said he has made arrangements to volunteer time at an alcohol rehabilitation center and with nonprofit agencies in Los Angeles. Schaffer had served on many boards and commissions, including the Glendale Water & Power Commission, the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank, Glendale Salvation Army, Burbank Center for the Retarded, and the Glendale Chapter of the American Heart Association, according to records and interviews. He also donated tens of thousands of dollars to politicians in Glendale, Los Angeles and Burbank. “He was pretty well-respected in the community. He was always very professional,” said Glendale Police Capt. Ray Edey, who knew Schaffer in the early 1990s. “He was an active lobbyist for cab companies over the years. He had a very outgoing personality that lent itself well to public relations.” But Schaffer’s attorney Roger Rosen said in court documents that Schaffer struggled with alcoholism for years, and had been sober and started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a little over a month before he was arrested. Schaffer had four misdemeanor convictions: two reckless driving cases in the 1990s; driving on a suspended license; and a drunk-driving conviction in 2004 for which he received a probation term, court documents show. Schaffer had a relationship for eight years with Murphy, who was divorced from her three sons’ father, Superior Court Commissioner Timothy Murphy, court documents said. By 2001, she was living with Schaffer and working at City Cab. Arrested at her home in July and free on a written pledge to appear in court, Murphy is expected in Los Angeles Superior Court Nov. 17 to set a date for a preliminary hearing. The hearing will determine whether there’s enough evidence for trial, said Los Angeles County Attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons. Murphy was charged with felony cocaine possession and misdemeanor child-endangerment, because the guns were accessible to her 12-year-old son, authorities said. Her attorney, Rickard Santwier did not return a call seeking comment. Schaffer and Murphy were arrested by investigators on an anti-gang task force formed after the November 2003 slaying of rookie Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka, killed in a shootout with purported members of the Vineland Boys. Task force investigators were led to Schaffer this summer, after a loaded handgun registered to him was found at a gang member’s Granada Hills home, court documents said. A gun collector, Schaffer owned, at the time of his arrest, 19 guns, including an UZI semiautomatic handgun, court records show. He has since been barred from owning firearms, Young said. During a search of Schaffer’s Glendale apartment, police said they found handguns, ammunition, methamphetamine, and two vials of cocaine. Investigators then went to Murphy’s Burbank home, after Schaffer told them he stored more guns there and that she kept cocaine in a bedroom closet. Jason Kandel, (818) 546-3306 [email protected] AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img