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City of Kenner Director of Inspection and Code Enforcement and City of New Orleans Assistant Chief Mechanical Inspector Charged with Use of An Interstate Facility with Intent to Carry on Unlawful Activity

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced today that James Mohamad, 52, of Kenner, and Brian Medus, 44, of Covington, were charged in a 1-count indictment by a federal Grand Jury with violating Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 1952(a)(3), conspiracy to use an interstate facility with intent to carry on unlawful activity.

According to the Indictment, Medus, the Assistant Chief Mechanical Inspector for the City of New Orleans, Safety and Permits Department, solicited and accepted bribe money from Mohamad, the Director of the Department of Inspection and Code Enforcement for the City of Kenner, in return for the issuance of fraudulent permits for Mohamad’s HVAC jobs. Throughout the course of the conspiracy, Mohamad paid Medus and others approximately $93,000 to further the bribery scheme.   Defendant Medus utilized the City of New Orleans’ internet-based LAMA system, a facility of interstate commerce, to further the scheme.

If convicted, Medus and Mohamad face a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, a fine of not more than $250,000, three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment, and a $100 special assessment fee.

The United States Attorney’s Office reiterated that an Indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Public corruption occurs when anyone who works for the government, whether at the federal, state, or local level, conducts an official act in exchange for money, goods, or services. It also includes public employees who take something of value for their own personal gain. Mr. Mohamad and Mr. Medus both allegedly engaged in these bribery schemes thereby violating the public’s trust”, stated Bryan Vorndran, FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge. “I would like to thank the City of New Orleans Office of the Inspector General, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their partnerships in helping the FBI disrupt public corruption in Louisiana.”

Ed Michel, Interim Inspector General, City of New Orleans, stated “The New Orleans OIG will continue to ensure employees who utilize their public office for personal gain are held accountable for their actions.”

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the City of New Orleans/Office of Inspector General.  Assistance was provided by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors. Assistant United States Attorney Tracey N. Knight is prosecuting the matter.