The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:
In 2013, two men were convicted in the Mendocino County Superior Court of stealing large quantities of copper wiring from Willits Redwood Company. They were stealing the copper and selling it to recycling centers for pennies on the dollar for money to purchase drugs.
One of the men was eventually ordered to pay $18,300 in restitution back to Willits Redwood Company. The legal rate of interest was also ordered, meaning any unpaid principal would grow at a non-compounded rate of 10% per annum.
Defendant Logan Wade Sperling, now age 37, of Belmont, was one of the two men convicted of felony-level copper theft and the man ordered to pay restitution to the victim.
Moving ahead to 2020, defendant Sperling contacted an Internet law firm based in Texas to see about having his felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged (dismissed) based on Sperling’s alleged full compliance between 2013 and 2018 with all terms and conditions of his now-expired supervised probation.
As part of the legal documents filed by Sperling and his attorneys, a declaration was submitted signed by Sperling under penalty of perjury claiming he had paid all of the restitution in full.
And therein lies the rub. Despite being employed in the Bay Area, Sperling had never paid even a penny towards the restitution, and $1,830 in interest had been added (and is still being added) every year to his outstanding debt.
As of Friday, the restitution debt casting a dark cloud over Sperling’s financial and legal head has grown to $32,940 ($18,300 in principal and $14,640 in interest).
Following a law enforcement investigation, a perjury charge was filed in 2020 by the DA against Sperling and his case was heading for trial this coming Monday.
To avoid that jury trial, defendant Sperling plead guilty Friday afternoon to perjury by declaration, a felony.
From the very beginning, Sperling blamed the law firm for a drafting error in the declaration that he admitted signing under penalty of perjury.
However, Sperling testified at a prior hearing that when he received the declaration from the out-of-state law firm, he simply signed and returned it without reading any of the words in the declaration, including that he was signing under penalty of perjury. He admitted he did not make sure the words attributed to him were true and accurate.
Unfortunately for the defendant, California law is settled that when a person signs a declaration under penalty of perjury, without qualification, that information therein is true, but he or she does not know whether or not the information is in fact true, the making of that declaration is the same as making a declaration that the person knows is false.
The defendant’s case has now been referred to the Adult Probation Department for a background investigation and sentencing recommendation. He will be back in court in June for his sentencing hearing.
The law enforcement agency that investigated this case was the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigations.
The attorney handling the prosecution of Sperling is District Attorney David Eyster.
DA Eyster commented late Friday afternoon, “It is extremely important for clients to read and affirmatively approve the language used in all legal documents that are drafted on one’s behalf by law firms.
“When the available evidence is sufficient, my attorneys and I have been – and will continue – to file criminal charges against those who submit false testimony in court proceedings. It doesn’t take a genius to know that lying under oath disrupts the judicial process and puts into question the veracity of legal outcomes.”