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City of New Orleans Assistant Chief Mechanical Inspector pleads unlawful activity

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced today that Brian Medus, 44, of Covington, pleaded guilty as charged to 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 Court documents, Medus, the Assistant Chief Mechanical Inspector for the City of New Orleans, Safety and Permits Department, solicited and accepted bribe money from James 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.   Medus utilized cell phones and the City of New Orleans’ internet-based LAMA system, facilities of interstate commerce, to further the scheme.  LAMA is the City of New Orleans system for tracking code enforcement and permitting actions.

Medus faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, a fine of not more than $250,000, a maximum of three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.   Sentencing is scheduled for November 17, 2021.

“The FBI is committed to aggressively pursuing those who violate the trust placed in them by the public and holding them accountable for their actions. Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message that individuals like Mr. Medus who engaged in a bribery scheme, will be held responsible,” said Douglas A. Williams, Jr. 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.”

The United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, stated that “Public trust in government institutions is essential for a healthy, functioning government.  Any felonious breach of trust damages the very institutions designed to protect citizens from such hazards.  Our office will continue partnering with local, state and federal investigative agencies to prosecute public corruption that compromises our institutions.”

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.