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Feds Arrest Local Building & Safety Inspectors for Taking Bribes

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FBI agents arrested two inspectors with the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety this morning on federal bribery charges, according to the Department of Justice. The men, Hugo Joel Gonzalez, 49, of Eagle Rock and Raoul Joseph Germain, 59, of Altadena, are accused of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to approve work done at residential construction sites in South Los Angeles. Gonzalez and Germain allegedly made the approvals but did not inspect the work, and, in some cases, hadn't even been to the job site.The alleged bribery was observed by undercover agents, who provided Gonzalez and Germain with $9000 and $6000 respectively. The undercover operation was instigated last summer, after an informant reported that the inspectors, including the duo arrested today, "accepted bribe payments at the initial inspection stage of construction at residential properties and that the bribes covered all necessary construction inspections related to that property, up to and including final inspection," explains the DOJ.

Gonzalez and Germain are expected to appear in court this afternoon. The charge of bribery carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.