The number of public corruption cases in New Orleans has more than quintupled amd a federal crackdown on post-Katrina wrongdoing and a billboard campaign urging residents to expose crooked politics and payoffs, USA Today reports. Some 171 people have e been indicted on public corruption charges from 2003 through mid-September of this year, said FBI agent Howard Schwartz. More than 80 percent were convicted of charges including bribery and fraud.
The surge in indictments is partly the result of corruption fueled by the enticement of billions of federal and state dollars flooding the region after the hurricane struck in 2005. Nationally, the number of pending public corruption cases has increased 49 percent since 2001. The majority of those indicted in New Orleans were elected or appointed officials, ranging from police officers to a former school board president to city councilmen. Over the previous five years, 31 people were indicted in New Orleans corruption cases – meaning the total spiked 452 percent.