LOS ANGELES – A former staffer for a member of the United States Congress was arrested today on federal extortion and bribery charges after allegedly taking $5,000 with promises of helping to prevent the closure of a Compton marijuana shop.
Michael Kimbrew, 44, of Carson, was arrested without incident this morning by special agents with the FBI.
Kimbrew was arrested pursuant to a two-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on July 21 and unsealed this afternoon. Kimbrew is charged with one count of attempted extortion and one count of receiving a bribe.
At his arraignment this afternoon, Kimbrew pleaded not guilty and was ordered freed on a $15,000 bond. He was ordered to stand trial on September 26.
According to the indictment, Kimbrew approached an employee of the marijuana shop, told him the store was violating the law, and said the shop would be shut down – unless the owners reached an agreement with him.
Kimbrew subsequently met with the owners of the marijuana shop inside Compton City Hall. The indictment alleges that Kimbrew claimed to be working with the FBI, and he could “make things happen” by ensuring the store had the appropriate permits in exchange for $5,000.
According to the indictment, an undercover FBI agent posing as a business partner met with Kimbrew, who reiterated his claims he could prevent the shutdown of the shop in exchange for $5,000. In a second meeting between Kimbrew and the undercover agent, Kimbrew allegedly accepted the $5,000 bribe.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted of the two counts in the indictment, Kimbrew would face a statutory maximum sentence of 18 years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Lindsey Greer Dotson of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.