July 7, 2009
WALLER COUNTY JUSTICE OF THE PEACE INDICTED FOR BRIBERY
(HOUSTON) – A sealed indictment charging Waller County Justice of the Peace Dewayne Charleston with violations of federal law arising from a bribery scheme has been unsealed following his arrest today by FBI agents, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
Dewayne Charleston, 46, of Hempstead, Waller County, Texas, was arrested this morning without incident at his residence. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy this afternoon and has been ordered released on a $100,000 bond.
The indictment naming Charleston was returned under seal on July 6, 2009, and accuses him of conspiring to solicit, demand and accept bribe money or kickbacks from a local demolition contractor in exchange for obtaining approved vendor status resulting in the awarding of City of Hempstead contracts. The City of Hempstead is located approximately 50 miles west of Houston in Waller County. According to allegations in the indictment, the local demolition contractor is a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certified operator, which signifies the minority ownership of a business entity with its principal place of business in Texas.
“The public has a right to expect their public officials will objectively represent the interests of the communities they serve, not to sell their votes or support for personal gain,” said Johnson.
Charleston is accused of conspiring with former Mayor Pro-Tem and a City Alderman of the City of Hempstead, Larry Wilson, and former City Alderman Paris Kincade to extort bribe payments from a cooperating witness in exchange for city contracts. The conspiracy allegedly began on July 18, 2005, and continued until Jan. 30, 2008. Charleston organized and orchestrated a bribery scheme, according to the indictment, in which Wilson and Kincade would use their official positions with the City of Hempstead to commit Federal Programs Fraud. Charleston, Wilson and Kincade corruptly solicited, demanded, accepted and agreed to accept monies from a contractor intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with the eventual award of city contracts. Charleston is also charged with two additional counts of aiding and abetting his alleged co-conspirators, Wilson and Kincade, to commit Federal Programs Fraud.
Wilson and Kincade were previously convicted for their conduct and are not charged in this case.
A conviction for conspiring to commit Federal Programs Fraud carries a penalty of imprisonment of not more than five years and/or a fine not to exceed $250,000. A conviction for violating any of the remaining substantive counts of Federal Programs Fraud carries a penalty of imprisonment of not more than 10 years and/or a fine not to exceed $250,000.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by special agents of the Houston FBI Office. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Wright is prosecuting the case.
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