UPLAND - A contractor sentenced in a federal bribery case involving former Mayor John Pomierski is the first of four defendants in the case to be released from prison.

John Hennes, owner of Upland-based JH Builders and former member of the Upland Building Board of Appeals, has been checking into a halfway house every three days as part of his six-month prison sentence.

Hennes was sentenced in August to six months behind bars and six months of home confinement for his role in a federal bribery case involving Pomierski and an Upland business.

"He's back to work trying to put his life back together and trying do a good job working for other people on contracting projects," Hennes' attorney Ken White said.

"He's looking forward to putting this part of his life behind him and get back to family activities and community service and doing contracting work."

Hennes and Pomierski were indicted in March 2011 on federal corruption charges that outline an extortion scheme targeting two Upland businesses, including the Chronic Cantina bar and restaurant. The indictment alleged Hennes communicated Pomierski's demands to the owner of Chronic Cantina and collected money on his behalf.

Hennes pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of making false statements to federal agents. He was sent to federal prison in Lompoc after Thanksgiving and was released to a halfway house just before Christmas.


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White said Hennes' release was, "In part because of federal prison overcrowding and he was the only one who was let out to lower security because of lack of criminal record, his profile and his good behavior."

Hennes was required to spend nights at the halfway house but was able to work during the day.

According to the federal Bureau of Prisons inmate locator, Hennes is in custody through Long Beach Communities Correctional Management - a private provider of re-entry treatment and education services for adults released from prison. He is scheduled to be released March 2.

When the home detention portion of his sentence begins, Hennes will be required to wear an ankle tracking device.

Pomierski was sentenced in August to two years in prison for accepting a $5,000 payment from the property owner of Chronic Cantina in exchange for helping him obtain a conditional-use permit. He is serving his sentence at the Correctional Institution in Taft and is scheduled to be released in June 2014.

Pomierski's attorney H. Dean Steward said the mayor's family is communicating with him regularly and is continuing to be supportive.

"He's looking forward to getting home and rebuilding his life again, and, hopefully, his construction work is something that he can reinitiate," Steward said.

Two other defendants involved in the case are also serving out their sentences.

Jason Crebs, 39, pleaded guilty in April 2011 to aiding and abetting Pomierski in soliciting bribes from Chronic Cantina and was sentenced in October to one year and on day in prison.

Crebs is serving his sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater and is scheduled to be released in November. He was ordered to surrender to prison authorities in Atwater, but mistakenly surrendered to the custody of the U.S. Marshal in Riverside, according to court records. He was housed in San Bernardino County Jail prior to being transferred to Atwater.

Anthony Orlando Sanchez, 37, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to solicit bribes on behalf of Pomierski. He was named in the 11-count indictment of Pomierski and Hennes after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Sanchez, who had fled the country for about a year, was sentenced in September to one year and one day in prison. He is serving the sentence at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego and is scheduled to be released in April.


Reach Sandra via email, call her at 909-483-8555, or find her on Twitter @UplandNow.