The U.S. attorney’s office filed a bribery charge against a former inspector at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety on Wednesday, making him the third employee of the agency to face criminal prosecution in two years.
Samuel In, 65, agreed to plead guilty to a single count of felony bribery stemming from a 2008 incident in which he accepted $5,000 in cash from a Koreatown businessman, according to documents filed in federal court.
As part of his plea agreement, In admitted accepting more than $30,000 worth of bribes involving at least a dozen properties that he handled in his official capacity between March 2007 and December 2010, Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Akrotirianakis said. All were in or around Koreatown.
The plea agreement depicts In, who was fluent in Korean, as someone who took advantage of a businessman whose own limited language ability made it hard for him to navigate the city’s permitting process. In has “admitted that he used his official position to solicit monetary payments from people who had limited abilities in speaking English,” Akrotirianakis said.
If convicted, In could receive up to 10 years in prison and be fined $250,000.The case comes three years after the FBI launched an undercover sting operation into bribes given in exchange for building permits. Two department employees pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in 2011 and were sentenced to prison. At least two others have been fired in the wake of the probe, although one is fighting his termination, city officials said.
This article originally appeared on latimesblogs.latimes