Inspector gets probation in bribe case

A former state septic tank system inspector must serve five years of probation after admitting in Baton Rouge he accepted $50,000 in bribes from a contractor with past felony convictions.

Alan Forrest Pogue, 52, of Covington, was an inspector in the onsite wastewater program of the state’s Center for Environmental Services when he accepted the bribes between May 2009 and June 2011.

Those bribes were alleged to have been paid by former Denham Springs contractor Glenn Kelly Johnson, 71, when the men were indicted in Baton Rouge federal court in March.

Johnson died the next month without responding to the allegations.

Visiting U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi, of Lake Charles, placed Pogue on probation Friday.

The indictment alleged that Johnson regularly bribed Pogue in return for lists of homeowners and businesses that applied for state permits for septic system installation.

Johnson then contacted people on those lists in an effort to win system construction contracts.

Pogue admitted he regularly accepted $500 cash payments for each list of permit applicants he provided Johnson.

Pogue said he met with Johnson about 100 times “and exchanged a list of 30-35 names and in turn was paid $500 in cash.”

The state inspector was responsible for checking septic systems installed in Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes.

In return for a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to use a telephone to promote bribery and his pledge to cooperate in the investigation, prosecutors agreed not to charge Pogue with additional crimes.

Pogue, Assistant Federal Public Defender Mark Upton and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rene I. Salomon signed that agreement.

Johnson, who moved to Mississippi before his indictment, was sentenced in 2000 by U.S. District Judge Morey L. Sear, of New Orleans, to three years in prison for conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act and obstruction of a criminal investigation.

Sear also ordered Johnson to pay at least 125 homeowners with septic tank systems in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes a combined total of $250,000. All of those homeowners received their restitution, according to prosecutor Stacey H. Mitchell of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section in Washington, D.C.

Mitchell told Sear those homeowners’ problems ranged from “interruption in sewage service to backups causing sewage to enter their homes through toilets, sinks and dishwashers.”

Johnson’s prison time was increased by 15 months in 2000 after he admitted to Sear that he conspired to defraud the United States and Hancock Bank of Louisiana.

Sear ordered Johnson to pay restitution of $1 million in that case.