LOS ANGELES - A former inspector with the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety took more than $30,000 in bribes in connection with a dozen properties in and around Koreatown District of Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Samuel In, 66, of Glendale, a 37-year veteran of the Department of Building and Safety agreed late yesterday to plead guilty to one count of soliciting and receiving monetary payments that In described to victims as "fees."
Court documents state that a victim identified as T.C, who wanted to open a retail store in Los Angeles in 2008, paid $5,000 to In. The victim needed to convert office space in a process that required a building permit, according to officials.
The victim had limited English language ability and had a difficult time completing the Department of Building and Safety paperwork.
In helped the victim and told him that he was a senior inspector and advised the victim about construction plans, state authorities.
In went to the victim's business and said he would take care of the inspections and other procedures through the final inspection of the retail if the victim paid $4,000, official stated.
In later increased the amount of his "fees" to $5,000, asked that any payments by check be made with the payee line left blank, and advised that checks made payable to LADBS would not be useful. The victim ultimately made several cash payments totaling $5,000, according to federal prosecutors.
"Corruption by any official corrodes public confidence in governmental institutions," stated United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. "In this case, a government employee directly threatened the safety of the public by exploiting his position to line his own pockets. The victims were all the more vulnerable because they had limited abilities in English and depended on Mr. In to help them navigate through the inspection processes."
The charge of bribery carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
The FBI urges anyone with information about building inspectors or other officials accepting bribes to contact the FBI by calling its Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565, or by sending an e-mail to the dedicated anti-corruption address: REPORTBRIBES@ic.fbi.gov