News and Press Releases

Thomas Nelson Indicted

July 7, 2010



BATON ROUGE, LA – In an ongoing investigation designated “Operation Blighted Officials,” the Office of the United States Attorney announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging THOMAS A. NELSON, JR., age 40, of New Roads, Louisiana, with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1962, and forfeiture. If convicted, NELSON, who is the Mayor of the City of New Roads, Louisiana, faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

The indictment alleges that NELSON obtained over $22,000 in cash and other things of value, such as tickets to sporting events, luxury hotel rooms, and meals from businesspeople in exchange for using his position as Mayor for the benefit of the businesspeople in connection with transactions NELSON believed were worth over $6,000,000. Specifically, the indictment alleges that, in exchange for the cash and other things of value, NELSON (1) used the City’s robocall system to promote support among residents for the City contracting for the businesspeople’s conceptual product, the Cifer 5000; (2) proposed a City ordinance favorable to the Cifer 5000 and caused notices of such to be printed in the local newspaper; (3) facilitated the passage of a resolution in support of the Cifer 5000 by the state legislature; (4) signed and submitted an official letter of support which he believed would be used to cause $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 in private funding for the Cifer 5000; (5) signed and submitted an official letter of support directed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in connection with a $4,000,000 grant request for the Cifer 5000; and (6) guaranteed that the Cifer 5000 would receive a contract with the City.

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge David W. Welker said, “This is another demonstration of the FBI’s commitment to aggressively pursue public corruption at any level, along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We will not tolerate self-dealing among those who are entrusted with providing services or support to our citizens.”

Assistant United States Attorney Stan Lemelle stated, “Public corruption remains a top priority of the District and it’s important that all of our citizens know that no one is above the law.”

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 a deputy chief in 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.

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