A two year FBI investigation leads to legislators' indictments - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

A two year FBI investigation leads to legislators' indictments

After a two year investigation, a federal grand jury says a group of state legislators used their power for personal gain.

The allegations of extortion, corruption and bribery send a strong message that government is not for sale.

When he danced to the Tennessee Waltz at his inaugural ball Governor Phil Bredesen couldn't predict state lawmakers would be the target of a federal investigation with the code name, Tennessee Waltz.

"What went on here was not good legislation or bad legislation, it was people taking money in envelopes," said Bredesen.

Thursday U.S. Marshalls arrested state Senators John Ford, Kathryn Bowers and Ward Crutchfield along with Representative Chris Newton and former state Senator Roscoe Dixon. All are charged with taking bribes to influence legislation. Two men not part of the legislature, Barry Myers and Charles Love were also indicted.

The corruption scheme centered around an electronics recycling company called E-Cycle Management.

But the store front in downtown Memphis was nothing but a front for the feds. And the bribes were coming from undercover agents.

"All of these defendants are charged with various offenses including conspiracy, conspiracy to extort and attempted extortion," said U.S. Attorney Terry Harris at a a news conference Thursday.

The grand jury charged Ford with taking $55,000 in illegal payments and threatening witnesses.

Charles Love allegedly negotiated $12,000 in payments for Crutchfield and $4,500 for Representative Chris Newton.

Roscoe Dixon is accused of collecting $9,500 with the help of Barry Myers. Myers is also named for collecting $11,500 in bribes that went to Kathryn Bowers.

Myers, Dixon and Ford all appeared in federal court today. Myers and Dixon were released on their own recognizance. Ford will spend the night in jail until a detention hearing at 10 a.m. Friday.

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