In Latest Desperate Gambit, Former Adelanto Councilman Wright Tries Faking His Death

Former Adelanto City Councilman Jermaine Wright, who was removed from office in January after he was arrested by the FBI in November and charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with soliciting a bribe and attempted arson, this week sought to fake his death in an effort to get himself out from underneath his considerable legal troubles.
Wright was released on bond from federal custody late last month after being incarcerated for the better part of seven months. Represented by a federal public defender, he is scheduled to go to trial on August 14.
On Wednesday, using bundled text messages sent out to a select set of officials, community luminaries, some of his acquaintances and a handful of media outlets, Wright attempted to logroll a rumor that he was dead. He blasted the release, consisting of a photo of himself over which was superimposed the text “Just announce [sic] about an hour ago Jermaine Wright Sr. April 23, 1976 – June 26, 2018” suggesting the 42-year-old had died on Tuesday. The text was timed to arrive as the city council was involved in its Wednesday night meeting and was sent to several people whose attendance at the meeting could be assumed. The intent was to start a public dialogue in which the repetition of the account of his death would resonate into a widespread assumption of its factuality. The text came from a number – (760) 671-0927 – which Wright had previously represented as being that of his “publicist,” but is actually one of his own phone lines. In a nearly one month period, the “publicist” has not answered the phone, and a voice mail account for the line has not been set up. The only means of communicating on the line is to send text messages, which likewise provoke no response.
Faking his death is only the latest harebrained scheme cooked up by Wright. The attempted arson charge against him stems from his having paid an undercover FBI agent posing as an arsonist $1,500 to torch his restaurant, Fat Boyz Grill, so he could collect on the $300,000 fire insurance policy he had on it. Wright also arranged to receive $10,000 from another FBI agent posing as an applicant for a permit to operate a marijuana distribution business in Adelanto in exchange for cutting through red tape at City Hall to get that licensing approved.
When other FBI agents approached Wright and confronted him with evidence relating to the arson scheme and began pressuring him to cooperate with them in tracing out acts of graft and bribery involving other city officials, Wright last October sought to have the FBI agent who was posing as an arsonist murdered. He also attempted to arrange for himself to be severely beaten so he could claim memory loss as a ruse to get out of cooperating with the federal authorities in their investigation and as a legal ploy to have any criminal charges filed against him dismissed.

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