Mukundkumar Patel, an Indian American businessman has been charged for attempting to bribe a politician in exchange for support to get a license for his liquor store in Ohio. Patel, 52, was charged with one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, United States attorney for the northern district of Ohio Steven Dettelbach said in a statement.
According to the charges, Patel, of East Cleveland, had to seek a liquor license for his store. While Patel submitted a liquor license application, city officials told him they were not inclined to endorse his application but would consider his request after speaking with community stakeholders.
Patel met with an East Cleveland city councilman in October last year and offered to pay him $2,000 if he signed the application. The councilman refused, and Patel raised his offer to $3,000. After refusing again, the businessman told the politician to name his price, a statement said.
The councilman contacted the FBI to report the bribe solicitation. n another meeting with the councilman, Patel offered him $4,000 up front and $1,000 later in return for signing Patel’s beer and wine application, it said.
Patel paid him $4,000 in cash, and the councilman turned the money over to the FBI. “We will not tolerate individuals believing they can circumvent the law by bribing a public official,” special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office Stephen Anthony said. “The FBI commends the public official involved for adhering to his ethical principles by not accepting the bribe made by this business owner.”