Susan Miller

Susan Miller stands before a judge during her July 2017 arraignment at the Clara Shortridge Fultz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles. Miller pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of misappropriation of public funds and was sentenced to probation.

One of the two other co-defendants in former Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford’s criminal corruption case pleaded guilty to one count of misappropriation of public funds and was sentenced to two years probation on Thursday, according to Los Angeles Superior Court records.

Two other criminal counts for conspiracy and grand theft by embezzlement were dismissed against Susan Miller, the former AERO Institute executive director accused alongside Ledford and city consultant Kimberly Shaw with con­spir­ing to embezzle hundreds of thous­ands of dollars in NASA funds from a Palmdale-based nonprofit edu­ca­tional organization the co-de­fendants ran.

The case is still pending against Ledford and Shaw, who are expected to be in court this week to resume the preliminary hearing intended to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

The preliminary hearing has stopped and started several times since beginning on Sept. 4. It is scheduled to continue on Wednesday.

Shaw is also scheduled for a probation and sentence hearing on Tuesday, according to court records.

In charges originally filed in June 2017, prosecutors allege Ledford was paid $60,000 a year without per­forming any substantial work for the organization, the AERO Institute.

Additional charges were filed in January 2018.

All three defendants pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned in August 2018.

Ledford was charged originally with criminal conspiracy, with con­flict of interest in voting in 2012 to award a seven-year city contract worth up to $3.9 million to Shaw and with three counts of perjury for allegedly failing to report income from the institute on financial disclosure statements.

In January 2018, an ad­ditional misdemeanor charge was filed against Led­ford, accusing him of using an official position for personal gain.

The amended complaint accuses him of voting in 2016 to sell the build­ing con­taining the Palm­dale and An­telope Val­ley His­pan­ic cham­ber of com­merce offices to the in­sti­tute, which pros­e­cu­tors say was secretly paying him more than $60,000 a year.

Shaw, a Yorba Linda res­i­dent, and Miller, of Las Vegas, were charged or­ig­in­ally with con­spir­acy, grand theft by embezzlement of pub­lic funds and mis­ap­pro­pri­ation of public funds.

Based on payment amounts alleged in the in­itial criminal complaint, Led­ford was paid ap­prox­im­ately $500,000 be­tween August 2009 and Sep­tem­ber 2014 through Miller’s companies, whose income the complaint said came al­most entirely from the in­stit­ute, and between Sep­tember 2014 and May directly from the institute.

Miller’s companies re­ceived more than $821,000 be­tween August 2009 and Sep­tember 2014 from the in­sti­tute, according to pay­ment amounts alleged in the initial criminal com­plaint.

In January 2018, ad­di­tional charges were filed against Shaw saying she failed to disclose on AERO Institute tax forms for the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 tax years that the institute paid her con­sult­ing company more than $100,000 in 2012, more than $150,000 in 2013, more than $150,000 in 2014 and more than $150,000 in 2015.

According to the original criminal complaint filed by the DA’s office, Shaw was a paid consultant to the AERO Institute, first under the name Shaw and Associates and then, start­ing in March 2013, as RL&M Management. RL&M Management was paid $12,581.67 monthly by the institute, or $150,980 a year.

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