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Feb. 26, 2009

CITY OF HEMPSTEAD OFFICIALS PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY

(HOUSTON, Texas) – Former City of Hempstead Mayor Pro-Tem Larry Wilson and City Alderman Paris Kincade have both pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for their vote and support resulting in the awarding of city contracts, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Both men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal programs fraud before the Honorable Judge Keith P. Ellison.

Wilson, 42, who entered a his guilty plea on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009, and Kincade, 53, who pleaded guilty today, admitted to soliciting and accepting bribe money or kickbacks from a local contractor in exchange for obtaining approved vendor status resulting in the awarding of city contracts.

Beginning in December 2006, Wilson who was the Mayor Pro-Tem and a City Alderman of the City of Hempstead, and Kincade, a City Alderman, conspired to use their official positions with the City of Hempstead to commit federal programs fraud. They corruptly solicited and accepted monies from a contractor, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with the eventual award of city contracts. Wilson accepted a $10,000 bribe and Kincade accepted a $3,000 bribe connected to demolition contracts valued at $19,650. Wilson and a cooperating witness discussed potential contracts worth more than $160,000. Both men accepted the bribes in return for their vote and assistance to approve vendor status of the cooperating witness in the City of Hempstead  which led to four contracts for demolition. Wilson was captured on tape explaining how the cooperating witness could inflate city contracts stating “It take[s] you $10,000 to tear that down. You tell me it’ll take you 15.” Kincade was captured on tape telling the cooperating witness, “You know you got me and you know you got Wilson.”

The City of Hempstead is located approximately 50 miles west of Houston in Waller County. 

A conviction for conspiring to violate federal programs fraud carries a penalty of imprisonment of not more than five years and/or a fine not to exceed $250,000. Both men remain on bond pending sentencing. Wilson will be sentenced May 14, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. and Kincade will be sentenced on May 20, 2009, at 10:30 a.m.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by special agents of the Houston FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Wright prosecuted the case.

 

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