Jan. 18, 2013 -- Federal prosecutors today announced a 21-count indictment against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, accused of enriching himself as the city struggled to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Nagin is accused of using the office of mayor to steer city projects to business associates who, in turn, allegedly paid kickbacks and bribes and flew him on lavish free trips to Hawaii, Jamaica, and Las Vegas.
Nagin was charged with bribery, honest service wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and filing false tax returns.
"The defendant C. Ray Nagin, knowingly devised a scheme and artifice to defraud the City of New Orleans and its citizens of his honest services through bribery and a kickback scheme, whereby Mayor Nagin used his public office and his official capacity to provide favorable treatment that benefitted the business and financial interests of individuals providing him with bribery/kickback payoffs in the form of checks, cash, granite inventory, wire transfers personal services and free travel," the indictment said.
The indictment charges that Nagin established a family company in 2005 called Stone Age LLC and allegedly put bribes and kickback checks into the firm's accounts.
"Nagin on or about May 23, 2006 accepted a bribery/kickback payoff from Businessman 'A' in the form of private jet travel and limousine services to New York City," the indictment alleges.
The indictment says that on the same day, Nagin allegedly waived penalties that were owed by the businessman on a delinquent tax bill owed to the City of New Orleans.
The indictment also alleges Nagin accepted $50,000 from businessman Frank Fradella as well as monthly wire transfers of $12,500 that totaled $112,500. Fradella pleaded guilty to bribing a New Orleans city official in June 2012.
Prosecutors alleged that on June 20, 2009 Nagin awarded a $1 million Katrina sidewalk repair project to a local businessman. On June 21, the very next day, a Nagin family member allegedly was paid a $10,000 kickback from that businessman.
"This indictment should serve as a reminder to current and former public officials that, in the interest of full accountability, the FBI pursues corruption even after an official leaves office," said Michael Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's New Orleans Field Office.
A defense attorney for Nagin could not be identified from the court docket. Nagin, who served as New Orleans' mayor from 2002 to 2010, is expected to have a court appearance later this month.