The police chief for the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest container port, has been charged with corruption in an alleged kickback and bribery scheme.
Ronald Jerome Boyd was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on 16 counts of corruption, lying to FBI agents, tax evasion and failing to file federal corporate tax returns, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement on Thursday.
Prosecutors say Boyd is expected to surrender next week. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum of 124 years in federal prison, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Boyd was placed on administrative leave until further notice following the indictment, Gene Seroka, executive director of the port, said in a written statement.
“The city and Port of Los Angeles will fully cooperate in the investigation of this matter,” Seroka said.
Ed Robinson, Boyd’s attorney, told the Times his client knew about the investigation and had cooperated with authorities.
The charges stem from a project to develop a social networking program, dubbed Portwatch, to provide the public with port information and allow them to report crimes there.
Prosecutors say that Boyd made a deal to share revenues with another company in return for helping that firm obtain the contract to develop Portwatch.
A spokesman for the port, Phillip Sanfield, told the Times, “We don’t use the PortWatch app and we never did. … It never took off.”
The port’s police force employs 128 sworn officers who cover the Port of Los Angeles and neighboring communities, according to the website.
Al Jazeera with wire services