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SEC Charges Birmingham Mayor With Fraud

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (CN) - The SEC charged the mayor of Birmingham with taking $156,000 in bribes from the chairman of a securities brokerage firm, which earned $6.7 million in fees from underwriting $6.4 billion in bonds and derivative swaps for Jefferson County. The money allegedly was passed through a registered lobbyist; all three men were charged in Federal Court.

Mayor Larry Langford is charged with taking the payoffs from William Blount, the chairman of Blount Parrish & Co., while Langford was on the Jefferson County Commission. Blount allegedly sent the money to Langford through their mutual friend, Albert LaPierre, a registered lobbyist in Alabama.

The SEC claims that before Langford was elected to the County Commission, Blount Parrish had not done any bond business with the county for years. Langford became president of the commission in November 2002. From March 2003 to December 2004, the SEC says, the county selected Blount Parrish to participate in $6.4 billion in bond offerings and derivative swaps - work that accounted for more than 70 percent of the firm's income in that time.

Langford, Blount, and Blount Parrish were charged with securities fraud, LaPierre with aiding and abetting.

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