Remember Ray Nagin, the Mayor of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit? He's now involved in a legal storm with indictments announced today.
FOX News Radio's Hank Weinbloom reports:
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is indicted on 21 corruption charges that include bribery, money laundering, and wire fraud. The charges stem from an investigation into allegations that Nagin took bribes from city contractors. Four other people have already pleaded guilty in the case. Nagin became a national figure after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. He loudly accused federal officials of being slow to help, while others accused Nagin of a poor response. These charges apparently unrelated to Katrina.
Hank Weinbloom, FOX News Radio.
Below read the U.S. Attorney statement on Ray Nagin:
United States Attorney Dana J. Boente Eastern District of Louisiana
C. RAY NAGIN, FORMER NEW ORLEANS MAYOR, INDICTED ON FEDERAL BRIBERY, HONEST SERVICES WIRE FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING, CONSPIRACY, AND TAX CHARGES
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - C. Ray Nagin, 56, a resident of Frisco, Texas and formerly the Mayor of New Orleans, was charged in a 21-count indictment with bribery, honest service wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, and filing false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Anderson, and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent-in-Charge James Lee.
According to today's federal grand jury indictment, between December 2004 and the present, Nagin and several others participated in a conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud. The indictment alleges that Nagin, in his role as chief executive, devised a scheme to defraud the City of New Orleans and its citizens of his honest services through bribery and a kickback scheme, whereby Nagin used his public office and official capacity to provide favorable treatment, including awarding contracts, that benefitted business and financial interest of individuals providing him with bribes and kickbacks in the form of checks, cash, granite inventory, wire transfers, personal services, and free travel. The indictment charges Nagin with accepting numerous bribes and payoffs from consultants and contractors, money laundering conspiracy, and filing false tax returns for the years 2005 to 2008.
"This office will continue its history of investigating and prosecuting public corruption" said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. "This is an important part of the office's mission to serve the citizens of the Eastern District of Louisiana and make certain they have honest public officials."
"This indictment should serve as a reminder to current and former public officials that, in the interest of full accountability, the FBI pursues corruption even after an official leaves office," said Michael Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's New Orleans Field Office.
"IRS will continue to do our part to hold the elected officials of New Orleans accountable for their actions," stated Damon Rowe, IRS-CI Acting Special Agent-in-Charge. "No one is excused from obeying the laws of this country."
According to the indictment, in January 2005, Nagin created Stone Age LLC, a granite company based in New Orleans.
The indictment alleges, among other things, that Nagin accepted approximately $72,250 in bribes from Rodney Williams and his company, Three Fold Consultants, LLC. The indictment also alleges Nagin accepted bribes from Frank Fradella, including $50,000, granite inventory, and nine payoffs in the form of wire transfers from Fradella totaling $112,500. In some cases, money was deposited into Nagin's Stone Age corporate account, or free granite inventory was provided to Stone Age.
If convicted of conspiring with others to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud (Count 1), Nagin faces statutory penalties of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. If convicted of accepting a bribes (Count 2-7), Nagin faces statutory penalties of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on each count. If convicted of accepting payoffs that caused interstate wire communications to occur between Louisiana and other states (Counts 8-16), Nagin faces statutory penalties of up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on each count. If convicted of conspiring to commit money laundering (Count 17), Nagin faces statutory penalties of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. If convicted of filing false tax returns for years 2005 through 2008 (Counts 18-21), Nagin faces statutory penalties of up to three years in prison, a $100,000 fine and three years of supervised release on each count.
The indictment also contains Notices of Forfeiture which puts the defendant on notice that the Government intends on forfeiting any and all property and profits concerned with and/or derived from any illegal activity referenced in the indictment.
U. S. Attorney Boente reiterated that today's indictment describes allegations and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and the New Orleans Office of Inspector General. U. S. Attorney Boente would also like to acknowledge the assistance provided by the New Orleans Inspector General's Office and the Metropolitan Crime Commission. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Matthew M. Coman and Richard R. Pickens, II.