FORMER PORT ALLEN CITY COUNCIL MEMBER SENTENCED
IN OPERATION BLIGHTED OFFICIALS
BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced that, as part of Operation Blighted Officials, Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced JOHNNY L. JOHNSON, Sr., age 65, of Port Allen, Louisiana to two years probation, with a condition of having to spend 6 months in a half-way house, and forfeiture of the bribe proceeds.
During his guilty plea, JOHNSON admitted that, on November 19, 2008, while he was a member of the Port Allen City Council, he and then-Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis provided false official letters of support for a conceptual product known as the Cifer 5000. In exchange for the false letters, JOHNSON and Lewis accepted an $8,000 suite at the Bayou Classic football game, with JOHNSON’s share being six tickets worth $2,500.
In July 2010, JOHNSON was first contacted by federal law enforcement authorities concerning this matter. He promptly took responsibility for his actions, agreed to cooperate with the investigation, and pled guilty before the late Chief Judge Tyson on July 23, 2010.
At today’s sentencing, the Court and the United States repeatedly credited JOHNSON for having been the first defendant in Operation Blighted Officials to accept responsibility, cooperate with the investigation, and plead guilty in a timely manner. While noting that JOHNSON’s criminal betrayal of the public trust must not go unpunished, the United States asked the Court to give significant consideration to JOHNSON’s limited role in the overall scheme and his commendable actions since being caught.
United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., stated: “Today’s sentence reflects the Court’s recognition of the importance of accepting responsibility and cooperation, particularly in public corruption matters. While the defendant’s corrupt actions are inexcusable and warrant the resulting felony conviction, the choices he made to accept responsibility and cooperate are commendable and the sentence appropriately reflects as much.”
The status of the remaining Operation Blighted Officials defendants is:
Maurice Brown: In February 2011, the former Mayor of White Castle, Louisiana, was convicted by a federal jury following a two week trial of violating Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), engaging in honest services wire and mail fraud, and use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering. Judge Jackson sentenced Brown to 120 months in prison.
Thomas A. Nelson, Jr.: In June 2011, the former Mayor of New Roads, Louisiana, was convicted by a federal jury following a two and a half week trial of violating RICO, engaging in honest services wire fraud, using an interstate facility in aid of racketeering, and making false statements to the FBI. Judge Jackson sentenced Nelson to 132 months in prison.
Derek A. Lewis: In June 2011, the former Mayor of Port Allen, Louisiana, pled guilty to violating RICO. He awaits sentencing before Judge Jackson on June 12, 2012.
Frederick W. Smith: In October 2011, the Chief of Police for Port Allen, Louisiana, was convicted by a federal jury following a two week trial of 11 counts of violating RICO, engaging in honest services wire and mail fraud, and using an interstate facility in aid of racketeering. Judge Jackson sentenced Smith to 90 months in prison.
George L. Grace, Sr.: In March 2012, the former Mayor of St. Gabriel, Louisiana, was convicted by a federal jury following a six week trial of violating RICO, engaging in honest services wire and mail fraud, bribery, obstruction of justice, making false statements, and use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering. U.S. District Judge Maurice Hicks detained Grace pending his sentencing scheduled in August 2012.
This matter is part of Operation Blighted Officials, an investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. Operation Blighted Officials has been prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Corey R. Amundson, Senior Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, Patricia Jones, Senior Litigation Counsel, and Michael Jefferson.
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