News and Press Releases

Smith Sentencing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 14, 2012

FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE OF PORT ALLEN, LOUISIANA SENTENCED TO SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS IMPRISONMENT

BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced the results of another lengthy sentence imposed in Operation Blighted Officials. Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced FREDERICK W. SMITH, age 41, of Port Allen, Louisiana, to 90 months imprisonment, one year supervised release following imprisonment, a $17,000 fine, and forfeiture of $18,990.

SMITH’s sentence was based on his corrupt activities while serving as the Chief of Police for the City of Port Allen, Louisiana. In October 2011, following a seven-day trial, a federal jury convicted SMITH on all counts of an indictment charging him with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), mail fraud, wire fraud, and use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering.

The evidence at trial established that SMITH solicited and took thousands of dollars in cash, tickets to professional sporting events, a luxury hotel stay, and expensive meals from individuals posing as businessmen in connection with an FBI undercover operation. In exchange, SMITH took the following official actions: (1) provided the businessmen with an official PAPD Lieutenant’s Badge, an official PAPD Sergeant’s Badge, an official PAPD Commission Card; (2) caused a Louisiana State Police ticket to be dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office for the 18th Judicial District; (3) caused a Port Allen City Marshal ticket to be dismissed by the Port Allen City Prosecutor’s Office; (4) provided an official letter designed to cause a Connecticut Superior Court Judge to grant leniency for a drug defendant he did not know; and (5) provided confidential law enforcement information concerning numerous individuals.

In addition to those completed bribes, SMITH sought many others, including his request for $3,500 in cash in exchange for more official PAPD badges, police blue lights, a police bullet-proof vest, and weapons from the PAPD evidence room. SMITH also solicited a six-month lease on a condominium in New Orleans in exchange for providing confidential law enforcement information.

SMITH began engaging in criminal activity before having any contact with the businessmen. Through the then-Mayor of Port Allen, SMITH unlawfully provided confidential law enforcement information to the businessmen and agreed to continue providing such information in exchange for bribes. Upon meeting the businessmen in-person, SMITH began talking about criminal activity within 90 seconds.

SMITH lied to employees of the West Baton Rouge Office of Homeland Security in connection with numerous requests for confidential law enforcement information. As an example, SMITH falsely told a dispatcher that he was seeking information on four individuals as part of a burglary investigation. In fact, SMITH was seeking the information in order to provide it to people he believed to be businessmen in exchange for bribes.

SMITH is the third defendant to be sentenced in Operation Blighted Officials. Chief Judge Jackson previously sentenced former New Roads Mayor Thomas Nelson, Jr., to 11 years imprisonment after Nelson was convicted at trial of racketeering and other offenses. Chief Judge Jackson also previously sentenced former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown to 10 years imprisonment after Brown was convicted at trial of racketeering and other offenses. The remaining defendants to be sentenced are former St. Gabriel Mayor George Grace, Sr., who was recently convicted at trial, former Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis, who pled guilty, and former Port Allen Council Member Johnny Johnson, who pled guilty.

U.S. Attorney Cazayoux stated: “The Court sent a strong message today that those who engage in public corruption in this district will be dealt with severely. This case is particularly disturbing given that the defendant was a Chief of Police. We hope that this defendant’s actions will not overshadow the honest work and dedication by the vast majority of law enforcement officers, including the many honorable and fine members of the Port Allen City Police Department. 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: “As police officers, we are entrusted to uphold the laws of the United States and Louisiana. If the law is to be honored, it first must be respected by those who enforce it. Chief Smith failed his obligation to remain faithful to this oath to uphold the law and as a result, tarnished the badge that so many wear proudly and so many have made great sacrifices to defend.”

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General. This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Corey R. Amundson, M. Patricia Jones, and Michael J. Jefferson.

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