L.A. Building Inspectors Arrested by FBI For Allegedly Approving Home Projects For Cash

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Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 11:27 AM
click to enlarge Dirty money in the L.A. Dept. of Building and Safety?
  • Dirty money in the L.A. Dept. of Building and Safety?

Two L.A. city building inspectors were arrested this morning for allegedly taking thousands of dollars worth of bribes to approve houses and improvements they had not properly checked out, the U.S. Attorney's Office here says.

Forty-nine-year-old Eagle Rock resident Hugo Joel Gonzalez allegedly accepted $9,000 in bribes from an informant and an undercover agent, feds say; 59-year-old Altadena resident Raoul Joseph Germain allegedly accepted $6,000 in bribes from an undercover agent.

Hey, at least they don't live in the community where they allegedly approved potentially unsafe structures.

The FBI started looking at the two last summer after a construction supervisor came forward and told agents the pair, from the Department of Building and Safety, was accepting cash to approve permits on residential construction.

According to a U.S. Attorney's statement, " ... The bribes [allegedly] covered all necessary construction inspections related to that property, up to and including final inspection."

The informant was documented as giving cash to the duo for approvals and the FBI subsequently sent in an agent posing as a contractor who was able to do the same, according to the feds' statement:

Gonzalez signed inspection cards for two properties and told the informant the he was giving the informant 'preferential treatment.'

They also allege that fort $1,500 Germain signed off on four home projects that he hadn't even see.

"Corruption by any official further corrodes public confidence," said the U.S. Attorney in L.A., André Birotte Jr. "In this case, two government employees directly threatened an important public safety mission by exploiting their positions to line their own pockets."

Got bribes? Call the FBI at 310-477-6565, or email them.

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