|US Department of Justice/
New Orleans FBI
For Immediate Release
July 7, 2010
|United States Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Louisiana
Contact: (225) 389-0443
BATON ROUGE, LA—In an ongoing investigation designated “Operation Blighted Officials,” United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging MAURICE A. BROWN, age 45, of White Castle, Louisiana, and MARIO D. BROWN, age 40, also of White Castle, Louisiana, with twenty (20) counts of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, mail fraud, wire fraud, use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering, and forfeiture. If convicted, MAURICE BROWN, who is the mayor of the Town of White Castle, faces up to 170 years’ imprisonment and a $3,250,000 fine. If convicted, MARIO BROWN, who is the chief of police for the Town of White Castle, faces up to 145 years’ imprisonment and a $3,000,000 fine.
The indictment alleges that the defendants obtained cash and other things of value worth over $10,000 from businesspeople in exchange for using their official positions with the Town of White Castle for the benefit of the businesspeople in connection with transactions represented to be worth over $5,000,000. According to the indictment, such conduct occurred in connection with three different bribery schemes involving the defendants and the businesspeople.
The indictment alleges that one of the bribery schemes involved MAURICE BROWN obtaining cash and other things of value from businesspeople in exchange for using his position as mayor to promote and to obtain money for the businesspeople’s conceptual product known as the “Cifer 5000.” The Cifer 5000 was marketed as an automated waste container cleaning system using specially designed and equipped trucks to clean and sanitize commercial and residential waste containers.
The indictment alleges that a second bribery scheme involved the defendants obtaining cash and other things of value from businesspeople in exchange for MARIO BROWN using false representations to obtain confidential law enforcement information from the FBI and providing such information to one of the businesspeople. The indictment alleges that a third bribery scheme involved MARIO BROWN obtaining cash from one of the businesspeople in exchange for using his position as chief of police to fraudulently obtain leniency for an individual facing drug charges in Connecticut.
United States Attorney Cazayoux stated, “It is always a sad day when a public official betrays the trust of the citizens he has sworn to represent and protect. I am thankful for the diligence and sophisticated work of the FBI in this case, and am hopeful that all of our citizens will realize that all of us must abide by the law.” Cazayoux encouraged the public to be vigilant and report crimes of public corruption to the FBI.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge David W. Welker said, “This is another demonstration of the FBI’s commitment to aggressively pursue public corruption at any level, along with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We will not tolerate self-dealing among those who are entrusted with providing services or support to our citizens.”
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office with assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson who serves as a Deputy Chief in the Criminal Division.
NOTE: An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that probable cause exists to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial.