23 May – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John C. Richter, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Brian J. Whimpling, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, announced today that former Monroe County Attorney, defendant, James T. Hendrick, 57, of Key West, Florida, was indicted on May 19, 2005 on charges of conspiring to obstruct a federal grand jury investigation, obstruction of justice, and two (2) counts of witness tampering in connection with the grand jury investigation of former Key West Mayor John “Jack” London’s receipt of a $29,000 kick-back payment. The current Indictment supersedes the April 2004 Indictment of London, adding Hendrick as a defendant.
According to the Superseding Indictment, James Hendrick was the County Attorney for Monroe County from July 1995 through 2002, and John “Jack” London was a Commissioner on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) from 1990 though 1998, and the Mayor of Monroe County from 1996 through 1998. The Superseding Indictment alleges that, while serving as a Monroe County Commissioner, London received a $29,000 kick-back payment in connection the BOCC’s approval of a land development project, known as the Halls Resort project.
According to the Superseding Indictment, the payment to London was made by a consultant, identified as “R.H.,” who had been hired by a real estate developer, identified as “M.R.,” to assist “M.R.” with obtaining building permits from the BOCC for the Halls Resort project. According to the Superseding Indictment, London used the $29,000 payment to satisfy an outstanding lien against a residential property London owned in Cork, Ireland. Hendrick allegedly agreed to participate in this kick-back scheme, and used his position as County Attorney to place the Halls Resort project on the BOCC agenda.
In addition, the Superseding Indictment alleges that, beginning in July 2003, and continuing into March 2004, Hendrick acted as a conduit between John “Jack” London and “R.H.” and that he subsequently devised a false explanation to legitimize “R.H.’s” $29,000 payment to London. Hendrick did so knowing that the false information would be conveyed to a federal grand jury
investigating the matter. Hendrick was also charged with obstruction of justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1503, and with two (2) counts of witness tampering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(b), based on his attempt to corruptly influence R.H.’s and London’s anticipated grand jury testimony.
If convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice, Hendrick faces a statutory maximum sentence of five (5) years’ imprisonment and $250,000 fine (Count 1); five (5) years’ imprisonment and $250,000 fine on the obstruction of justice charge (Count 2); and ten (10) years’ (five (5) years on each count) imprisonment and $250,000 fine on two (2) witness tampering charges (Counts 3 and 4). John L. “Jack” London faces a statutory maximum sentence of three (3) years’ imprisonment and $100,000 fine on the false tax return charge (Count 5), in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1).
Mr. Jiménez commended investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Clark, Brenda K. Morris, Deputy Chief with the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Unit, and Sabrina Houlton, Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Unit.