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NEW: Former Central Falls Mayor Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges

Monday, November 19, 2012

 

Former Central Falls Mayor Charles D. Moreau and longtime friend, businessman and political supporter Michael G. Bouthillette pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges today for participating in a corruption scheme in which the former mayor accepted goods and services from Mr. Bouthillette as a reward for having directed and provided board-up work on more than 160 properties in Central Falls between 2007 and 2009.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Moreau admitted to the court that beginning in September 2007, he ordered that all vacated homes in Central Falls be boarded up by Michael Bouthillette, a longtime friend and political supporter. Bouthillette admitted to the court that as a reward, on three occasions, he corruptly provided Moreau with things of value. Moreau and Bouthillette each pled guilty to one count of Federal Program Fraud.

The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.

An investigation conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General and the Rhode Island State Police revealed that beginning in September 2007, then Mayor Moreau directed that all vacated homes in Central Falls be boarded up and that all board-up work be done by Michael Bouthillette. Moreau admitted to the court that he circumvented the State requirement that such work go out for competitive bidding by declaring that each vacant home presented as an “emergency” necessitating an immediate board-up. From approximately September 2007 to July 2009, Bouthillette boarded up at least 167 homes.

Councilman and Mayoral candidate James Diossa said the Moreau’s plea bring an end to a “sad chapter in our city’s history.”

“We cannot go back to the mismanagement and corruption that plagued our city for years,” he said. “This is why I have pledged, on day one of my administration, to introduce a comprehensive ethics ordinance, which would include prohibiting pay-to-play activities.”

 

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