A City of Los Angeles building inspector who pleaded guilty to charges of taking bribes was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Raoul Joseph Germain, 60, of Altadena, was caught on camera accepting $6,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent in a sting after the agency received a tip-off about Germain. He pleaded guilty to the charges in April and the prosecutor in the case that Germain could receive as much as 10 years in prison.
Germain was arrested on April 9 along with Hugo Joel Gonzalez, 49, of Eagle Rock, who allegedly accepted $9,000 in bribes from an informant and an undercover agent.
Both Germain and Gonzalez worked on the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, which is responsible for inspection of construction projects in the city.
According to the criminal complaint, both inspectors were accused of taking bribes by a residential developer who had contact with both in the course of doing construction work in the city. The informant, who is not named in the complaint, told the FBI that he had personally made 30 to 40 bribes to department inspectors.
Those bribes included paying for vacations for inspectors, buying materials at stores associated with the inspector, or doing construction work at the home of inspectors.
In exchange, the inspectors would forego actually physically inspecting any of the projects they were tasked with checking for compliance with city building codes.
Germain was approached by an undercover FBI agent who told him he was paying too much in bribes to another city inspector. Germain then offered to sign off on inspection papers in return for $1,500, according to the complaint.
The Times notes that two other building inspectors have been removed from the department since the FBI sting, and that the agency has asked for personnel records of about a dozen more employees.
The story also says that Germain did not cooperate with an FBI probe into the Building and Safety Department, and Germain's lawyer told the Times that he declined to do so out of fear of retaliation against himself or his family.