Michael Hooks Jr. indicted in Tennessee Waltz - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Michael Hooks Jr. indicted in Tennessee Waltz

Former Memphis city school board member Michael Hooks Jr. on Tuesday became the 11th official indicted in the public corruption investigation known as Tennessee Waltz.

Hooks' father, Shelby County Commission member Michael Hooks Sr., had been indicted last year on bribery charges in the investigation and is awaiting trial.

Hooks Jr., whose great uncle is former NAACP director Benjamin Hooks, was charged in a four-count indictment with taking part in a scheme to skim public money from the Shelby County Juvenile Court.

The indictment says Hooks conspired with two associates who worked for the court to get part of more than $60,000 paid to a consultant on bogus claims.

He announced his resignation from the school board in October, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and return to college.

Hooks, 31, also is known for having a small part as a prison official in "Hustle & Flow," a movie about a small-time Memphis pimp and drug dealer who wants to be a rapper.

The Tennessee Waltz investigation became public last year when five sitting or former state lawmakers were charged with taking payoffs from a fake FBI company called E-Cycle Management. Since then several local officials in Memphis and Chattanooga also have been indicted.

An earlier investigation into suspected embezzlement at the Memphis juvenile court led to Tennessee Waltz and was rolled into the larger FBI sting when it was approved by the Justice Department in 2004.

Tim Willis, the chief Tennessee Waltz informant in Memphis, was a business consultant at the juvenile court. Willis went to work for the government, authorities say, when he was caught lying to a grand jury about embezzlement at the court. Willis was accused of filing false invoices for work he did not perform and splitting the money with associates.

One state lawmaker charged in Tennessee Waltz, former Rep. Chris Newton, R-Cleveland, has pleaded guilty and is serving a one-year prison sentence.

Former Sen. Roscoe Dixon, D-Memphis, has been convicted at trial and is awaiting sentencing.

Sen. Kathryn Bowers, D-Memphis; Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga; and former Sen. John Ford, D-Memphis, are awaiting trial.

Two "bagmen" have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing and a former county commissioner in Chattanooga was convicted at trial and sentenced to three years in prison.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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