LOS ANGELES – Michael Kimbrew (44) of Carson was arrested yesterday morning by special agents with the FBI on federal extortion and bribery charges after allegedly taking $5,000 while promising to help prevent the closure of a Compton marijuana shop.
The Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office announced last night that Kimbrew, a former staffer for a member of the U.S. Congress, was arrested pursuant to a two-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on July 21st, and unsealed yesterday afternoon.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Lindsey Greer Dotson of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.
The indictment alleged that Kimbrew approached an employee of the marijuana shop, told him the store was violating the law, and said the shop would be shut down – unless the owners reached an agreement with him.
Kimbrew then met with the shop’s owners inside Compton City Hall. The indictment alleges that he claimed to be working with the FBI, and that he could “make things happen” by ensuring the store had the appropriate permits in exchange for $5,000.
An undercover FBI agent posing as a business partner met with Kimbrew, who reiterated his claims that he could prevent the shutdown of the shop in exchange for $5,000. In a second meeting between with an undercover agent, Kimbrew allegedly accepted the $5,000 bribe.
Charged with one count of attempted extortion and one count of receiving a bribe at yesterday afternoon’s arraignment, Kimbrew pleaded not guilty. He was ordered freed on a $15,000 bond, and ordered to stand trial on September 26th. If convicted of the two counts in the indictment, the suspect would face a statutory maximum sentence of 18 years in federal prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case.