Owner of Lefty O'Doul's Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Charges, Agrees to Cooperate in Case

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Appearing in an online hearing, San Francisco restaurant owner Nick Bovis pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud.  (Lauren Hanussak/KQED)

In a short hearing lasting less than 20 minutes, San Francisco restaurant owner Nick Bovis, who has agreed to cooperate in an ongoing criminal case against the city's former Public Works director, pleaded guilty to two counts in federal court.

Nick Bovis, who owns Lefty O'Doul's restaurant, was initially charged with corruption in January, along with then-Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, in an alleged scheme to bribe a San Francisco International Airport commissioner in 2018.

The scheme to obtain the commissioner's aid in obtaining a restaurant concession was never completed, according to the Jan. 15 criminal complaint.

Nuru was also additionally charged with making false statements to the FBI, after allegedly agreeing to cooperate in the investigation. He resigned from office in February and the charge against him remains pending while he is free on a $2 million bond.

Last week, the Department of Justice announced that Bovis, 56, had promised in a plea agreement to cooperate with prosecutors and to plead guilty to revised charges of one count of honest services wire fraud plus one count of wire fraud. Appearing in a Zoom call on Thursday, Bovis followed through on that agreement and pleaded guilty to the revised charges.


While factual finding behind the plea agreement were not revealed during the hearing, Bovis agreed in court that the evidence materials filed under seal in "Exhibit A" are true and accurate.

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According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Joiner, Bovis has agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney's Office before and after the sentencing, including meeting with government officials when requested, answering all questions truthfully, be they from a grand jury or any other trial proceedings, surrendering any and all assets that he acquired or obtained directly or indirectly as a result of the illegal acts. Joiner also said that Bovis and his legal team has agreed to request continuances of his sentencing date until his cooperation with the government is complete.

According to the January criminal complaint, the honest services wire fraud charge lodged against both Nuru and Bovis is defined as using wire communications, including phone calls, text messages and emails, to arrange meetings and discuss the supposed scheme to deprive the public of the honest services of the unnamed airport commissioner.

The two counts to which Bovis pleaded guilty each carry a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000. However, U.S. District Judge William Orrick, who is presiding over the case, is expected to consider federal sentencing guidelines as well as any potential prosecution request for a lesser sentence.

A sentencing date has been set for Dec. 3.

Bay City News contributed to this report.