Former commissioner to plead guilty to racketeering
BATON ROUGE - Federal authorities said a former deputy insurance commissioner will plead guilty to racketeering charges as part of the undercover FBI investigation "Operation: Blighted Officials"
The U. S. Attorney's Office in Baton Rouge accused Richard L. Chambers, Sr., of LaPlace with racketeering and forfeiture in a Bill of Information released today. They said he will be arraigned on July 16, and plead guilty during that appearance.
The bill said in 2009 while he was serving as deputy commissioner at the state Department of Insurance, Chambers took bribes in order to support a fake garbage can cleaning business called "Cifer 5000". It said Chambers accepted a $5,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for an official letter supporting the business in order to get private investors on board.
Chambers was also accused of steering insurance business to a licensed agent in exchange for a cut of the agent's commission, even writing a letter to the Mayor of Cleveland asking attempting to direct their insurance business to the agent he was working with. That agent was actually an undercover FBI agent, who said Chambers took three bribes worth a total of $5,500 between July 2009 and March 2010.
Chambers faces up to five years in prison with three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and paying back the money he received as a bribe.
Five other public officials have been convicted in connection with the undercover operation. Two others pleaded guilty in exchange for their testimony against other officials charged in the case.