The story John Alfonzo Smiley told is every correctional officer's fear: He was at a San Francisco restaurant with his wife when a parolee recognized him, then gunned him down with a shot that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Unable to work, the 44-year-old Smiley filed a workers' compensation claim that could have paid him and his wife nearly $2.5 million.
Except investigators say that isn't exactly how Smiley ended up getting shot.
Instead, court records say, the altercation that led to his paralysis started at a swingers club, where he and his wife were engaging in sex with strangers and a dispute quickly escalated.
The results are five felony counts against Smiley and his wife, Cynthia Ann Biasi-Smiley, alleging the couple conspired to commit fraud.
The pair, who are scheduled to appear in Sacramento Superior Court on Wednesday for arraignment, did not respond to a message left at their Plumas Lake home Monday. Corrections officials also did not respond to a request for comment.
But court documents filed in the case portray a lurid background about how investigators say the shooting actually occurred.
Instead of being related to his employment, which could have made a workers' compensation claim successful, investigators say the matter began at Pacific Avenue and Kearny Street in San Francisco in the predawn hours of April 27, 2008.
At that corner was a "swingers" club named Twist, where admittance is allowed only after the owner approves an e-mail request. There is no sign out front to advertise its existence, court records state.
A $40 cover charge gets patrons admitted to a two-story complex with a dance floor, a ceiling-to-floor dance pole, a DJ and pornographic movies playing on televisions and a movie screen, court records say.
Upstairs is the "play room," where owner Ivan Stroganov told investigators the sex play would occur.
"When Stroganov was asked if there would be orgies taking place he responded, 'Certainly,'" a report from a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation investigator stated. "He admitted there would be couples having sex in all areas of the upstairs play room."
It was here, in an area with a circular bed and a black and white couch, that the altercation occurred that night, court records state.
The Smileys arrived at midnight after discovering the club on the Internet, court records say. Soon they met another couple, court records state, and eventually began to have sex with them.
But at some point Smiley's condom broke while he was having sex with the woman, and her companion became angry, court records state.
"I kill people for a living," the man allegedly told Smiley.
The Smileys left and began walking to their car when Smiley heard another car pull up and the man from the club emerged with a gun, court records state. The pair began to run and Smiley was shot in the back.
San Francisco police arrived at 2:24 a.m. and the Smileys told them what had happened inside the club and after, court records state.
Smiley also told the police he didn't want to tell them "about the swingers club and hoped it would not get back to his department (CDCR)," court records say.
Apparently, it didn't for a while.
On March 27, 2009, one month before Smiley's ability to file a workers' compensation claim would lapse, he submitted a form indicating he had been shot by a former inmate.
A correctional sergeant later told investigators that Smiley had told her he was shot by a parolee while leaving a San Francisco restaurant, court records state.
The state denied the claim last July, but Smiley continued pursuing it. Last October, attorneys from both sides discussed a request from Smiley's attorney for a $2 million settlement, court records say. At one point, the attorney indicated the claim was worth an $8 million settlement, court records say.
About that time the state realized it did not have the SFPD report on the shooting, but officials planned to go ahead with a settlement payment, court records say.
After that, however, state officials obtained the original police report, and a criminal probe was begun Nov. 25, 2009, court records say.
The gunman was never caught, and it was not clear Monday whether Smiley is still employed by the corrections agency.
The Sacramento District Attorney's Office filed charges against the pair March 11, and the State Compensation Insurance Fund concluded it had saved a tidy sum, according to the investigative report filed in court.
"The approximate grand total expense for SCIF would have been $2,442,142.00," the report states. "However, SCIF has spent $6,500.00 in investigative cost."
Read the full story at the Sacramento Bee.