Former Detroit treasurer indicted for taking bribes, kickbacks

Published On: Feb 28 2012 11:45:45 AM EST
Updated On: Feb 28 2012 06:22:10 PM EST

Federal agents said he and former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were stealing from the city's pension fund.

DETROIT -

A former city of Detroit treasurer has been indicted for taking bribes that included gambling money, drinks, Las Vegas concert tickets and private plane flights in exchange for approving more than $200 million in investments by two Detroit pension funds.

In an indictment unsealed Tuesday by United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, Jeffrey Beasley is accused of conspiring to personally enrich himself and others by accepting cash, travel, meals, golf clubs, hotel stays, limousine services, massages and other things.
The bribes to Beasley and his co-conspirators came from individuals who had business before the General Retirement System and the Police and Fire Retirement System of the city of Detroit.

The identities of the "co-conspirators" were not immediately known.

The indictment was issued on Jan. 18.
According to the six-count Indictment, between January 2006 and September 2008, when Beasley served on the Boards of Trustees of the two pension funds, he conspired with other individuals to defraud current and retired city of Detroit employees who contributed to the two pension funds. The Indictment alleges that Beasley deprived the employees of their right to honest services, including their right to Beasley's service as a pension fund trustee, free of bribery and corruption.

The indictment details the manner in which Beasley and his co-conspirators demanded and accepted bribes and kickbacks from individuals who were seeking investment monies from the two pension funds or who otherwise had business before them. The Indictment alleges that Beasley personally received more than $100,000 in cash from people having business before the two pension funds.

Another part of the scheme included demands by Beasley and others that individuals having business before the pension funds contribute tens of thousands of dollars to the Kilpatrick Civic Fund in
order to receive approval for their investment requests.
Beasley also is charged in the indictment with five counts of extortion or attempted extortion. The indictment alleges that Beasley extorted more than $10,000 in cash from persons doing business before the two pension funds at a "birthday party" in his honor. Beasley demanded $250,000 from the owner of an investment company in exchange for Beasley's support of $44 million in investment funds from the two pension funds.

Beasley demanded and received $20,000 from Marc Andre Cunningham, an aid to former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who acted as a consultant for a communications company that received $30 million in investment funds from the two pension funds.

Beasley and his co-conspirators demanded and received trips, private plane flights, and lavish entertainment from an investment manager of the Police and Fire Retirement System who managed more than $150 million in properties owned by the system.
If convicted, Beasley faces a maximum of twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the six counts of extortion, attempted extortion, and conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud.

The indictment also seeks forfeiture of more than $225,000 in unlawful payments received by Beasley and his co-conspirators in connection with his extortion and the conspiracy.

Former police officer and current City Councilman Gary Brown said the accusations against Beasley, such as bribes for pension investments, are disturbing.

"The pension money is city money," Brown said. "City taxpayer money. The money that goes into the pension fund are taxpayer dollars. So, you're misusing the trust taxpayers put in you. Getting to the bottom of this is really critical for the city's future."

The feds say the bribes cost retirees more than $84 million in bad deals.

Former Pension Board member Sheila Cockrel said the accusations are born from a culture of corruption during the Kilpatrick administration years.

"Tone is set at the top," she said.

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