Friday, August 14, 2009
Friday Texas Bribery Roundup
I continue to be astonished by the large number of bribery cases cropping up around the state, both in and out of the criminal justice arena. Here are several items that recently caught my eye:
Old-school police protection racket
A Dallas police officer operating a protection racket was convicted of bribery in May, reports Tanya Eiserer, and sentenced to 8 years deferred-adjudication probation with a $1,000 fine after extorting protection payments from a merchant on his beat. Followup Questions: Shouldn't the sentence require the officer to pay back the protection money he extorted? If not, would the vendors have colorable civil claims?
Roads + Contractors = Bribery
Meanwhile, in Edinburg a Texas Department of Transportation official stands accused of extorting bribes from contrators.
Phony employees group existed to get a "piece of the action"
Jason Trahan at the Dallas News Crime Blog has a fascinating account of a key witness' testimony in the Dallas City Hall corruption trial about a phony front organization called the Black State Employees Association of Texas. There's some ugly laundry being aired up in Big D! Columnist James Ragland comforts himself that Dallas isn't as bad as New Jersey, but surely that's damning with faint praise.
Iraq Graft a Family Affair
The feds last year busted a San Antonio-based US Army major and his wife who admitted to what the Express News calls the "largest graft case to emerge from the war in Iraq," Now it turns out this was a family affair, with the major's niece pleading guilty last month to participation in the scheme.
Bribery in Foreign Lands
Finally, according to an informative article on Avoiding Corruption in Mexico, the Obama Administration is ramping up prosecutions for companies that engage in bribery in Mexico and foreign countires. "Lenience by US enforcement agents ... is a thing of the past, writes the author. The article's footnotes also helpfully pointed me to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act blog which focuses on corporate compliance with federal anti-bribery legislation. One of the charges against Houston's Sir Allen Stanford is violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.