Former New Orleans Mayor Receives Federal Bribery, Federal Corruption Sentence

Former New Orleans Mayor Receives 10 Year Sentence for Federal Corruption, Federal Bribery Charges

federal corruptionOn Wednesday, July 9th, former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for federal charges including bribery and corruption.

Nagin had been convicted in February on 20 out of 21 federal charges. Nagin’s charges included conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud, money laundering, and tax charges. Of 21 counts, he was found guilty of 20 – the jury found him not guilty on one count of bribery. Along with Nagin, seven contractors and city officials have also been convicted on federal charges for accepting kickbacks and bribes in exchange for city business. Although many of his charges involved alleged mishandling of contractors during Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, he also faced federal charges related to money laundering through his personal granite counter top business, Stone Age, which he formed with his sons.

Nagin was the mayor of New Orleans for two terms, between 2002 and 2010, and was the mayor of the city during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Although the recommended sentence was 15 years in prison, Judge Ginger Berrigan, of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, stated that evidence during the corruption trial failed to show that Nagin had been the leader of a federal corruption scheme, or that he had organized such a scheme.

“Mr. Nagin claimed a much, much smaller share of the profits of the crime than any other member of the group,” Berrigan said, referring to the businessmen who profited from the scheme. The judge acknowledged that the federal corruption charges were a serious betrayal of a city that most needed strong, trustworthy leadership, but that Nagin himself was not the mastermind behind the corruption. He also demonstrated a “genuine if all too infrequent” desire to help New Orleans.

“There was a, I wouldn’t say, hipness,” said long-time civil rights attorney Mary Howell. “But he had a sense of humor, and he had a kind of gift in certain ways.”

“He was stealing,” said Keith Harris of suburban Gretna, repairing a sidewalk near the courthouse. “After Katrina when people were looting, he sent them to jail. He was looting. He should have been in there too. … He got some of my money. He got some of your money too.”

According to prosecutors, Nagin accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, truckloads of free granite for his family business, cell phone services, a free limousine ride in New York City, and a vacation to Hawaii, and in exchange promoted business interests of specific bribers. However, during his trial, prosecutors could prove only that he cleared about $500,000 in bribes, while businessmen who bribed him received millions of dollars from the city.

Nagin said he would appeal the verdict.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help Defend Federal Charges, from Corruption to Wire Fraud

The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and similar state racketeering laws give the government a tremendous amount of power to go after those accused of racketeering. RICO charges involve the operation of an illegal business or enterprise, including a fraudulent scams, for an individual or entity’s personal profit.

Our federal corruption and criminal defense lawyers handle cases involving:

  • Fraudulent insurance claims
  • Bond issuances and investment schemes
  • Falsifying loan applications
  • Check fraud schemes
  • Bribes or kickbacks
  • False advertising or misrepresentation in sales transactions
  • Murder or murder-for-hire,
  • the transportation and distribution of drugs,
  • gambling,
  • embezzlement,
  • extortion,
  • theft/armed robbery,
  • money laundering, and
  • bribery
  • Other RICO violations

If you, your loved one, or your corporation has been contacted by a law enforcement officer about federal charges, you should contact the Strom Law Firm, LLC immediately. The Strom Law Firm offers free, confidential consultations so you can discuss the facts of your case with impunity. Contact us today.803.252.4800

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