Former St. Gabriel Mayor George L. Grace Sr., who was convicted of a bribery scheme in 2012, was released from prison last week.
He was released May 27 into a halfway house, according a statement his attorney John McLindon made to several television stations.
Grace, who served as mayor from the municipality’s incorporation in 1994 until July 2011, was one of several area municipal officials who were convicted as a result of an FBI sting known as Operation Blighted Officials.
He was originally expected to be released in 2029. The Federal Bureau of Prisons offered no reason why Grace was released from prison, but the federal government had released some nonviolent inmates early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr instructed that the Bureau of Prisons in March to use home confinement as an alternative during the coronavirus pandemic.
Others convicted in Operation Blighted Officials include former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown, former New Roads Mayor Tommy Nelson and former Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis – all of whom have since been released.
Grace, who turns 77 this year, was convicted by a jury following a six-week trial of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), obstruction of justice, making false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, bribery involving a federally-funded entity, and use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering.
During his sentencing, the court determined that Grace was responsible for over four different bribery schemes involving over $9 million, including schemes to extort businessmen seeking to do business in the city and help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The sting featured a fantasy company, Cifer 5000, that was promoted as a garbage-can cleaning service seeking municipal contracts in Louisiana.
The charges stemmed from an FBI sting that involved a bogus garbage-can cleaning venture called “Cifer 5000,” in exchange for bribes.
Grace was originally sentenced to serve 22 years, but U.S. District Judge Maurice A. Hicks resentenced Grace in November 2014 to 20 years in prison, a $50,000 fine, forfeiture of $22,000 and one year of supervised release following imprisonment.