U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 20821 / December 5, 2008
United States of America v. Larry P. Langford, William B. Blount, and Albert W. LaPierre, (United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Case No. 2:08-CR-00245-LSC-PWG)
Birmingham Mayor and Friends Indicted For Bribery Scheme in Connection With Municipal Bond Deals
On December 1, 2008, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama filed criminal charges against Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford and his friends William Blount and Albert LaPierre. The 101-count indictment charges Langford, the former president of the County Commission of Jefferson County, Alabama (County Commission); Blount, chairman of Blount Parrish & Co, Inc., a broker-dealer based in Montgomery, Alabama; and registered lobbyist LaPierre with, among other charges, conspiracy, bribery, and money laundering in an alleged long-running bribery scheme related to Jefferson County bond transactions and swap agreements. According to the indictment, between 2002 and 2006, Langford used his position as president of the County Commission to generate $7.1 million in fees for Blount and Blount Parrish in connection with these Jefferson County financial transactions. Blount, in turn, paid LaPierre approximately $219,500. In return, the indictment alleges that Blount and LaPierre gave Langford approximately $235,000 in expensive clothes, jewelry and cash to pay off his personal debts as part of a conspiracy to funnel Jefferson County financial business to them.
In April 2008, the SEC filed a civil action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama against Langford, Blount, Blount Parish and LaPierre. The SEC's complaint alleged that while Langford served as president of the County Commission, he accepted more than $156,000 in undisclosed cash and benefits over the course of two years from Blount in exchange for Blount Parrish participating in every Jefferson County municipal bond offering and security-based swap agreement transaction during 2003 and 2004, earning Blount Parrish over $6.7 million in fees. The complaint further alleged that Langford and Blount concealed the payment scheme by using their long-time friend, LaPierre as a conduit. The SEC's complaint requested, among other relief, an order enjoining the defendants from further violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and financial penalties. The SEC's action is pending.
For further information see Litigation Release Nos. 20400 (December 17, 2007) and 20545 (April 30, 2008).