A California state senator and the mayor of Charlotte, NC have been charged with political corruption and accepting bribes this week. Both were arrested yesterday morning in their respective home states for the accusations, neither case is related.
California State Senator Leland Yee was taken into custody after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his home yesterday morning in a sting operation that netted 30 other arrests in the San Francisco Bay Area. The high-profile arrests and extensive raids were part of a multi-year investigation by the FBI.
Expanding from the Bay Area into the California capitol city of Sacramento, agents have searched homes, business, and office buildings, including Yee’s office at the state capitol. FBI authorities have released specific details regarding the raids and arrests, but the investigation netted the arrest of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow. Chow once helped lead a Hong Kong-based crime syndicate in the Chinatown district of San Francisco.
So far, federal authorities have searched approximately 15 locations in the Northern California area, including steel company Bay Steel Incorporated. Yee is but one of three California state senators that were arrested in the raids. Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello) was also charged with public corruption, and Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) was found guilty of eight felony counts of perjury and voter fraud.
Three thousand miles away in Charlotte, NC, another politician was charged with public corruption and accepting bribes. Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested yesterday morning and accused of accepting over $48,000 in bribes in another sting operation. Undercover FBI agents posed as businessmen who were interested in doing work with Charlotte.
Along with the cash, Cannon was accused of accepting airline tickets, hotel rooms, and access to a luxury apartment as bribes from the undercover agents. The operation involved agents acting as commercial real estate developers who offered payments to the mayor in exchange for planning, zoning, and permitting. From January 2013 through February 2014, the undercover agents paid Cannon five separate times.
Cannon’s arrest comes just six months after he assumed office. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and over $1 million in fines. Federal authorities in California have yet to release any detail about their mass investigation.