Public officials conduct inspections to ensure industries governed by California or federal laws are in compliance with those laws. Often, adherence to the regulations is a matter of public safety, and the oversight is an important factor in maintaining that level of safety. Unfortunately, some officials responsible for such oversight abuse their authority for their own gain. A conviction for some forms of public corruption may lead to a long prison term.
Recently, a public official and a private consultant pleaded guilty to charges of bribery. Reports say the two accepted money from local businesses in exchange for turning a blind eye to liquor law violations. Apparently, the consultant would meet with business owners who were in violation of the alcohol control standards. He allegedly relayed a list of violators to the official who worked at the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the official reportedly agreed to issue the non-compliant businesses temporary licenses in exchange for money.
The consultant’s California business is said to have profited over $60,000, and he apparently gave $28,000 to the official for his part in the operation. The consultant pleaded guilty to bribery, and the official entered a guilty plea in federal court for conspiracy. They are scheduled to be sentenced in the spring, and each faces numerous years in prison.
Accepting a plea is often a decision that comes after careful examination of the evidence prosecutors have against the accused. Under the advice of an experienced attorney, the accused may agree to plead guilty in exchange for a reduction in charges and/or favorable sentencing considerations rather than facing the unknown in a jury trial. Having a skilled and committed attorney can help someone who is accused of public corruption to make informed decisions designed to achieve the most positive outcome possible.