Mayor and Chief of Police of Port Allen, Louisiana Indicted
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 01, 2010|
BATON ROUGE—United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging DEREK A. LEWIS, age 49, of Port Allen, Louisiana, and FREDERICK W. SMITH, age 39, of Port Allen, Louisiana, with 22 counts of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, mail fraud, wire fraud, use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering, and forfeiture. If convicted, LEWIS, who is the mayor of the city of Port Allen, faces up to 190 years’ imprisonment and a $3,500,000 fine. If convicted, SMITH, who is the chief of police for the city of Port Allen, faces up to 130 years’ imprisonment and a $2,750,000 fine.
The indictment alleges that the defendants obtained cash and other things of value worth approximately $20,000 from businesspeople in exchange for using their official positions with the city of Port Allen for the benefit of the businesspeople in connection with transactions represented to be worth over $5,000,000. The indictment alleges the following areas of bribery:
- LEWIS took bribes to use his position as mayor to promote and to obtain money for a conceptual product known as the “Cifer 5000.”
- LEWIS and SMITH took bribes in exchange for SMITH using his position as chief of police to fraudulently provide confidential law enforcement information to businesspeople.
- SMITH took bribes in exchange for using his position as chief of police to write a letter to a Connecticut prosecutor seeking leniency for an individual he believed was facing drug charges.
- SMITH took bribes in exchange for corruptly dismissing traffic tickets.
- SMITH took bribes in exchange for using his position as chief of police to provide the businesspeople with official Port Allen Police Department badges.
- SMITH took a bribe in exchange for using his position as chief of police to agree to commission one of the businesspeople as an official police officer with the Port Allen Police Department.
U.S. Attorney Cazayoux stated: “Public corruption, particularly within law enforcement agencies, cannot and will not be tolerated. My office, together with the FBI and our other federal, state, and local partners, will continue to aggressively pursue such matters wherever the evidence and facts take us.”
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge David Welker stated: “Today’s indictment demonstrates the continued commitment of the FBI and its law enforcement partners to identify and root out public corruption wherever we find it in Louisiana.”
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office with assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson who serves as the Senior Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.
NOTE: An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that probable cause exists to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial.