News and Press Releases

Former Miami Beach Lead Code Compliance Officer Sentenced to Prison on Extortion Conspiracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced today’s sentencing of Jose L. Alberto, the former Lead Code Compliance Officer for the City of Miami Beach. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola sentenced Alberto to 51 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Judge Scola also ordered the forfeiture of $16,600. Alberto was taken into custody at the end of the hearing.

On August 6, 2012, Alberto pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a). At his guilty plea, Alberto admitted that in June 2011, he solicited a cash pay-off from a Miami Beach nightclub owner in exchange for not enforcing a large fine for a code violation. The nightclub owner reported the alleged extortion to the FBI, which commenced an undercover investigation. During the undercover investigation that followed, Alberto accepted twenty-two separate cash pay-offs for a total of $16,600 from either the nightclub owner or an undercover FBI agent posing as the manager of the nightclub. These cash pay-offs were made in exchange for Alberto’s protection from potential code violations and to permit the nightclub to continue operating.

According to statements made during the plea and documents filed with the court, Alberto introduced various other code enforcement officers to the undercover FBI agent to help protect the nightclub. These code enforcement officers, like Alberto, also received cash pay-offs in exchange for their protection of the nightclub. All of those officers have pled guilty to conspiring with Alberto to extort cash from the Miami Beach nightclub.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force. This case was prosecuted Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jared E. Dwyer and Robin W. Waugh.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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