A former supervisor of the Broward County School Board Physical Plant Operations Division has been charged with bribery and extortion under color of official right.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office made the announcement.
Richard Allen Ellis Jr., 49, of Hollywood, Florida, was charged in an 8-count indictment with bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and extortion under color of official right (Case No. 19cr60369). Yesterday, he was arraigned on the charges before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia O. Valle in Fort Lauderdale.
The indictment alleges, between September 26, 2018, and December 17, 2018, Ellis, while working as a Broward County School Board employee in the Custodial/Grounds Department, accepted four cash payments from an individual who worked for a contractor who did work at various Broward County public schools. The indictment further states that these payments had been occurring as early as 2016. The payments were made to Ellis, to ensure a steady flow of work for the contractor and the individual, and timely payment of the contractor’s invoices. Ellis is alleged to have accepted bribe payments wrongfully induced by his official position.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the FBI for its investigative efforts. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia R. Wood.