The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided the Maryland State Controlled Prince George’s County of Licenses Commissioners Thursday, according to a news report. The Department was once known as the Prince George’s County Liquor Board.
Rushern L. Baker, III, Prince George’s County Executive, released a statement Thursday in response to the news report. “I am very concerned and deeply disappointed to learn of the news this morning that the Prince George’s County Liquor Board offices were raided and arrests were made by the FBI. Given the vigilance of my administration over the past six years to restore confidence in the Government, I commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) for their engagement and oversight of any corruption that takes place in Prince George’s County.
Baker took office in the wake of the Federal Bureau Investigation arrests and prosecutions of the Prince County government officials in 2010. He went on to say that his administration has aggressively implemented ethics reform, enhanced oversight and whistleblower protection.
According to federal prosecutors, two Prince George’s County officials, along with two liquor storeowners face charges for bribery conspiracy. Allegedly, the officials accepted payment in return for favorable decision about the county liquor laws.
Federal agents collected boxes of files and charged Commissioner Anuj Sud and Board Director David Son. Young Jung Paig, owner and operator of Central Avenue Restaurant and Liquor Store was also charged, along with Sin Ja Lee, owner of the Palmer Liquor Store. Lee and Paig are lobbyists to elected officials.
Son allegedly asked an elected official to help pass the Sunday Sales Bill in 2015. This resulted in 100 Sunday liquor sales being created in Prince George’s County. After the Bill passed Son arranged a lunch with Paig, the official and Lee. During the luncheon, the official entered the bathroom and accepted a $4,000 cash payment from Paig. Son also received $4,000 for his part in the deal.
The FBI confiscated a surveillance video from a local bank, which showed the elected official depositing $4,000 in cash into an account. Lee and Paig agreed to pay a total of $50,000 and the elected official agreed to the legislation. According to court documents, Sud accepted three $1,000 bribes.
Sud, Paig, Lee and Son face up to five years in prison, if found guilty of conspiracy and up to 10 years, if found guilty of bribery. After their initial court appearances, which were scheduled for Thursday afternoon, Son was held in custody, while Sud was released on bond.