Former City Clerk Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Stealing $487,000 from Struggling North St. Louis County Municipality
ST. LOUIS – A former supervisory motor vehicle inspector with the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Tuesday admitted taking thousands of dollars in cash bribes to falsely certify that vehicles had been inspected and were roadworthy.
Larry S. Conrad, 67, pleaded guilty to one felony charge of using a facility in interstate commerce, a cellular telephone, to facilitate his bribery scheme. He admitted accepting a total of about $14,020 in individual bribes to falsify forms and approve inspections of vehicles that had been damaged and had salvage titles or were listed as “abandoned,” even if he never saw the vehicle.
Conrad’s primary duty was to perform motor vehicle inspections at the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Troop C facility in south St. Louis County. There is no fee for the inspections. If the vehicle passes, an inspector signs and certifies forms required for motor vehicle owners to apply for original Missouri Certificates of Title.
Conrad admitted accepting individual cash bribes ranging from $40 to $160 to pass vehicles. He often falsified certificates to indicate there was no apparent damage when there was visible damage to the vehicle being inspected.
On multiple occasions, Conrad took money for the inspection of vehicles that he never saw, including at least one that was not drivable, the plea agreement says.
Conrad communicated with the vehicle owners via text messages and cell phone conversations and had them place the cash bribes in the driver’s side door pocket. Conrad would then take the money at the time he was to be performing the inspection.
In court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith said Conrad’s bribery scheme thwarted procedures that are designed to make sure that vehicles are roadworthy and safe for both the occupants of that vehicle and others on the road.
Conrad is scheduled to be sentenced July 27. The charge carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
The case was investigated by the FBI, with the cooperation of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith is prosecuting the case.