Another L.A. city building inspector went down this week in the midst of a federal investigation into pay-to-pass inspections at the department.
Forty-nine-year-old Hugo Joel Gonzalez was sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison after taking $9,000 from an undercover FBI agent for no-look inspections, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Thom Mrozek stated.
He was the second inspector to get federal time under a probe that is reportedly ongoing (so check for wires, you other dirty inspectors):
Last month we reported that Raoul Joseph Germain got 21 months for pretty much the same thing.
According to Mrozek:
Gonzalez pleaded guilty on May 23 to a federal bribery charge, admitting that he took thousands of dollars in bribes to approve work done at residential construction sites in South Los Angeles, even though he had not inspected the work and, in some cases, had never been to the job site.
The former inspector was also ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution for the cash he took for the agent.
The FBI began its investigation — an omnipresent dark cloud over City Hall these days — in the summer of 2010 when an informant came forward and alleged that bribery was happening in the department of Building and Safety.
Looks like it was true. U.S. Attorney in L.A. André Birotte Jr:
This an example of how corruption threatens important government services and why such corruption is intolerable. Government employees at every level must know that if they betray the public trust for personal financial gain, as Mr. Gonzalez did, then they will be held accountable for their conduct.