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.


Anonymous said...

"If not, would the vendors have colorable civil claims?"

Yes, not to mention the officer will have income tax problems since most likely this income was not reported by the officer.

Course someone would have to give IRS a heads up.

Anonymous said...

Public corruption is one form of white collar crime but subverts public policy from serving the public interests to serving private interests.

As with white collar crime effective regulatory oversight is needed to reduce the official bribery.

There is a very small separation between bribery and campaign contributions -- which effectively changes laws before they become law to favor private interests over the common good. We are seeing this process play out before our eyes with the efforts to derail health care reform -- something this nation desperately needs.

If we continue as we have, in ten year I doubt if 50% of the population will have affordable health care.

Hook Em Horns said...

Bribery in Texas. This is my favorite thread Scott!!!!

Hook Em Horns said...

Scott - did you cover the idiots from Hempstead going to prison for bribery and corruption? I might have missed it.

R. Shackelford said...

Prison. That's where all these folks need to be. They should be held to a higher standard, and punished accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI – Bloomberg Law Reports is now putting out a White Collar Crime edition. As always, they do a fine job of reporting on the significant cases decided concerning the various issues and provide hefty background and references.

In the first issue, July, there was an eye-opening article regarding the testimony before Congress by former Nigerian official Nuhu Ribadu and the staggering collateral damage that foreign bribery inflicts upon the people of those nations. (Sorry, can’t find a link for that issue.)

…Ribadu testified that, in his opinion, corruption was not an
abstract financial crime, but a blight responsible for as many
deaths as the combined results of conflicts and HIV/AIDS on
the African continent, because it provided fertile ground for
injustice, violence, failure of government, and failure to use
revenues and aid for the benefit of the people, for whom it
was intended. Ribadu called corruption “one of the greatest
crimes the world has ever known” that was “killing Nigeria
and . . . killing across the African continent.”…

RAS said...

Well we can all agree that these people should be put on probation since they didn't commit violent crimes and incarceration is too expensive to use for non-violent offenders.