2,000 corrupt officials keep FBI busy - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

2,000 corrupt officials keep FBI busy

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Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 5:15 pm

Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor who served a stint on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" before a jury convicted him recently on multiple counts of public corruption, and other famous public dis-servants get the attention.

But the FBI is currently investigating more than 2,000 public corruption cases around the country. Bribery is the most common type of corruption case, but extortion, embezzlement, racketeering, kickbacks, money laundering and all sorts of fraud fill out the list. A "significant portion" of cases involve corruption along the U.S.-Mexico border, the FBI says.

Many cases don't make national news, or get Donald Trump's attention. Yet FBI brass says "they are just as vital to our public corruption mandate -- to root out those who violate the public trust." June, according to the FBI, was a particularly busy month.

For example:

-- Two commissioners in Lackawanna County, Pa., were convicted of racketeering and other charges in connection with accepting and demanding payments and other benefits from people doing business with the county.

-- A Nashville police officer was indicted for accepting cash while delivering drugs and drug money to several locations for local dealers -- all while wearing his uniform and driving his police car.

-- A special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations was arrested in Arizona for allegedly accessing, stealing and transferring sensitive government documents to people with ties to drug cartels.

-- A judge in Cleveland was convicted of accepting bribes, including campaign contributions, in return for fixing cases. The investigation has implicated dozens of other elected officials, public employees and contractors.

In fiscal 2010, FBI corruption investigations led to charges in more than 1,330 cases, resulting in more than 900 convictions. A good year, it seems, for rooting out not-so-good officials.

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