Indictments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in Operation Illegal Motion
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 29, 2009|
BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney David R. Dugas announced today that a federal grand jury returned two indictments against MICHAEL LEE, age 46, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. One is a six count indictment charging LEE with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), violation of the RICO Act, three counts of using an interstate facility in aid of racketeering, and one count of false statements. The indictment alleges that LEE conspired with Edward James, Leonard Jackson, Flitcher Bell and others to accept or extort bribes from individuals with pending criminal charges in the Baton Rouge City Court in exchange for arranging for the matters to be dismissed or otherwise “fixed.”
The second indictment is a one count indictment charging LEE with illegal possession of a firearm.The indictment alleges that LEE was subject to a domestic restraining order and was therefore legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.
LEE was arrested in connection with the above charges on December 17, 2009, pursuant to a Criminal Complaint issued by Magistrate Judge Christine Noland, and is currently detained and in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
The charges against LEE result from Operation Illegal Motion, an ongoing investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office with the cooperation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Louisiana Office of Inspector General; the Louisiana State Police; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigative Division; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General; and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Criminal Investigations Division.The cases are being prosecuted by Deputy Criminal Chief Corey R. Amundson and Assistant United States Attorney M. Patricia Jones.
LEE is the ninth individual charged as a result of Operation Illegal Motion. Seven individuals have previously pleaded guilty to charges arising out of the investigation.
LEE faces a maximum sentence of twenty (20) years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each of the RICO counts and a maximum sentence of five (5) years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each of the racketeering and false statements counts.He also faces a maximum sentence of ten (10) years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the firearms charge.
For further information, contact David R. Dugas, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, or Lyman Thornton, First Assistant U.S. Attorney, at (225) 389-0443.
NOTE: An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by the defendant.The defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until and unless they are proven guilty at trial.