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Charlotte mayor resigns after arrest on federal corruption charges

Patrick Cannon

Patrick Cannon

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested Wednesday on federal public corruption charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.

Cannon, 47, was charged with theft and bribery after an FBI sting operation. He said in a letter Wednesday evening that he is resigning as the city’s mayor, effective immediately.

FBI agents started an investigation in August 2010 after they received a tip that Cannon was potentially involved in illegal activities.

Authorities said Cannon solicited and accepted money bribes and things of value from undercover FBI agents, who were posing as commercial real estate developers.

cannonThe complaint and affidavit allege that during the course of that investigation, Cannon solicited and accepted money bribes and things of value from undercover FBI agents, posing as commercial real estate developers and investors wishing to do business in Charlotte.

As alleged in the documents, Cannon solicited and accepted such bribes and things of value in exchange for the use of his official position as Charlotte Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and/or as a City Council Member.

Some of those “gifts” included trips to Las Vegas, briefcases full of cash and money for shopping trips.

PDF: Complaint filed against Charlotte mayor

The complaint and law enforcement affidavit allege that Cannon accepted the bribes from the undercover FBI agents on five separate occasions. On the last occasion, on Feb. 21 Cannon allegedly accepted $20,000 in cash in the mayor’s office.

According to the complaint and the affidavit, between January 2013 and February 2014, Cannon allegedly accepted from the undercover agents over $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room and use of a luxury apartment in exchange for the use of his official position.

Cannon had his initial appearance in court Wednesday and has been released on bond, pending indictment.

The charge of theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the charge of honest services wire fraud carries a statutory maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine; and the charge of extortion under color of official right carries a statutory maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges contained in the criminal complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael E. Savage of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina. The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Full press release:

According to allegations contained in the charging document and the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, during the course of a separate criminal investigation, the FBI received reliable information that Cannon was potentially involved in illegal activities associated with his position as an elected official, and began an undercover investigation in or about August 2010. 

The complaint and affidavit allege that during the course of that investigation, Cannon allegedly solicited and accepted money bribes and things of value from undercover FBI agents, posing as commercial real estate developers and investors wishing to do business in Charlotte.

As alleged in the filed documents, Cannon solicited and accepted such bribes and things of value in exchange for the use of his official position as Charlotte Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and/or as a City Council Member.

The complaint and law enforcement affidavit allege that Cannon accepted the bribes from the undercover FBI agents on five separate occasions. On the last occasion, on February 21, 2014, Cannon allegedly accepted $20,000 in cash in the Mayor’s office. 

According to the complaint and the affidavit, between January 2013 and February 2014, Cannon allegedly accepted from the undercover agents over $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room, and use of a luxury apartment in exchange for the use of his official position.

Cannon had his initial appearance today and has been released on bond, pending indictment. 

The charge of theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the charge of honest services wire fraud carries a statutory maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine; and the charge of extortion under color of official right carries a statutory maximum sentence of not more than 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges contained in the criminal complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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