Local News

Ex-DENR official sentenced for soliciting bribe

Posted August 6, 2008 1:34 p.m. EDT
Updated August 6, 2008 8:49 p.m. EDT

— A former state official was sentenced Wednesday to more than three years in federal prison in a permitting-for-pay scheme.

Boyce Hudson, 67, who retired from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2005, pleaded guilty in May to extortion and money laundering. He was sentenced to 40 months at the federal prison camp in Butner, followed by three years on supervised release.

Hudson also was fined $35,000 and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to the FBI.

"This type of offense undermines the citizenry’s faith in government at all levels," U.S. Attorney George Holding said in a statement.

Hudson and his attorneys declined to comment as they left the federal courthouse in Raleigh.

Federal investigators said Hudson agreed to expedite state environmental permits for Agri-Ethanol Products LLC, which planned to build an ethanol production plant in Beaufort County, in exchange for $100,000 and a two-year contract as a consultant that was worth another $100,000.

Agri-Ethanol received the required permits within 30 days, and Hudson, who served as a liaison between DENR and the General Assembly, received $5,000 in the scheme, investigators said.

Authorities were tipped to the scheme by a potential Agri-Ethanol investor, who said a sales representative bragged that the company had bribed a state official. An FBI agent then posed as a company investor to build the case against Hudson, paying him another $15,000.

The ethanol plant was never built because of a lack of funding.

Defense attorneys submitted several pleas for leniency for Hudson, including one from state Sen. A.B. Swindell, D-Nash, who called Hudson "one of the most dedicated public servants I have ever known."

Prosecutors agreed to a lenient sentence for Hudson, saying he cooperated in the federal investigation of the scheme. He wore a wiretap during several meetings with Agri-Ethanol owner David Brady, a former Raleigh developer, and others associated with the company and let investigators monitor phone calls he made to company officials, prosecutors said.

Hudson must report to prison by November 1.