CHARGES FILED IN FEDERAL CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION IN PALM SPRINGS

CHARGES EXPECTED IN FEDERAL CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION IN PALM SPRINGS

The former Mayor of Palm Springs and two Developers have been charged with corruption after an FBI investigation. In a criminal complaint listing 21 felony charges against him unveiled today, prosecutors allege that during his two years as mayor of Palm Springs, Steve Pougnet accepted bribes from local real-estate developers in exchange for favorable decisions from the City Council. Pougnet is charged with nine counts of receiving bribes, eight counts of conflict of interest as a public official and three counts of perjury.Also charged were businessmen John Wessman and Richard Meaney. Each is charged with nine counts of offering a bribe. All three men face an additional charge of conspiring to bribe a public official. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, in a criminal complaint filed Thursday, allege that Pougnet was paid $375,000 between September 2012 and September 2014. If convicted, Pougnet would be barred for life from ever holding public office and face a potential maximum sentence of 19 years in state prison. Meaney and Wessman face a potential 12 years in state prison. All three men are expected to surrender to the court in the next few days.The charges come 17 months after a public corruption task force made up of the FBI, District Attorney’s Office and the IRS raid on Palm Springs City Hall.

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