News and Press Releases

chambers Sentenced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2013

FORMER DEPUTY INSURANCE COMMISSIONER
SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR RACKETEERING

BATON ROUGE, LA – Acting United States Attorney J. Walter Green announced that another public official has been sentenced in Operation Blighted Officials. Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson today sentenced RICHARD L. CHAMBERS, SR., age 68, of LaPlace, Louisiana, to 30 months imprisonment, 1 year of supervised release following imprisonment, a fine of $10,500, and forfeiture of $11,341. The defendant was sentenced after having pled guilty to racketeering based on his corrupt activity while Deputy Commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Insurance.

Today’s sentence results from the defendant’s involvement in two corrupt schemes in 2009 and 2010 while serving as Deputy Commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Insurance. In the first scheme, the defendant used his official position to steer insurance business from municipalities and other entities to an insurance agent in exchange for a split of the commissions. The defendant created the scheme and estimated that it would generate between $200,000 and $4,000,000 in commissions. In the second scheme, the defendant took $5,000 in cash bribes to use his official position to fraudulently secure $500,000 in private investor funding for a conceptual trash can cleaning product.

Acting U.S. Attorney Green stated: “This office, together with our federal, state, and local partners, will continue to aggressively pursue corrupt public officials who line their own pockets at the expense of the public trust. Such corruption undermines the dedicated and honest work performed by the vast majority of our public servants and will not be tolerated. Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of public corruption, while also appropriately crediting a defendant who accepts responsibility and substantially cooperates with the investigation.”

This matter is part of Operation Blighted Officials, a long-running public corruption investigation conducted primarily by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson who serves as the Senior Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.

Status of Other Operation Blighted Officials Defendants

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 sentenced Grace to 22 years imprisonment.

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. Chief Judge Jackson sentenced Nelson to 11 years imprisonment.

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 RICO, engaging in honest services wire and mail fraud, and use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering. Chief Judge Jackson sentenced Brown to 10 years imprisonment.

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. Chief Judge Jackson sentenced Smith to 7.5 years imprisonment.

Derek Lewis: In July 2011, the former Mayor of Port Allen, Louisiana, pled guilty to violating RICO and agreed to cooperate with authorities. Chief Judge Jackson sentenced Lewis to 40 months imprisonment.

Johnny Johnson: In July 2010, the former member of the Port Allen City Council pled guilty to using an interstate facility in aid of racketeering and agreed to cooperate with authorities. Chief Judge Jackson sentenced Johnson to two years probation, with a condition of having to spend 6 months in a half-way house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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