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August 6, 10

NEWS / Former Jefferson County Commissioner Gary White Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

TUSCALOOSA—A federal judge today sentenced former Jefferson County Commissioner Gary White to 10 years in prison on 2008 convictions for accepting bribes from a sewer contractor whose company had about $50 million in contracts with the county, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.

U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler ordered White to pay $22,000 in restitution to the Jefferson County Commission, and to forfeit $22,000 to the government as proceeds of illegal activity. Judge Coogler set a tentative date of Aug. 30 for White to report to prison.

“Substantial prison time is absolutely deserved in a case where a public official solicits and receives regular cash payments in return for doling out millions of dollars in government contracts,” Vance said.

A federal jury in January 2008 convicted White of conspiring with and accepting bribes from Sohan Singh between 2003 and 2005, while White was an elected commissioner with oversight of Jefferson County’s Environmental Services Department. Singh’s company, U.S. Infrastructure, had numerous “no bid” professional services contracts with the county for sewer projects.

Singh regularly gave White $100 bills in white envelopes. The amount routinely was $2,000, but ranged from $1,000 to $4,000. During the time period of the conspiracy, Singh’s company received more than $11 million in sewer-related contracts with the county. The jury convicted White of one conspiracy and eight bribery counts.

Sentencing in the case was put on hold after White sought a new trial following his convictions and claimed his trial should not have been held in Montgomery, which is outside the Northern District of Alabama. U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon set aside the convictions and ordered a new trial.

Today’s sentencing follows an appeals court ruling in December 2009 that reinstated White’s convictions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled White waived his right to be tried within the district where his crimes allegedly occurred because he did not object to the location for his trial until after the trial was held.

The FBI investigated the case. U.S. Attorney J. Patton Meadows prosecuted it.




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