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Former State Employee Sentenced Taking Cash Bribes

A former employee of the California agency charged with inspecting alcohol and drug abuse programs across the state was sentenced today to 41 months in federal prison after being convicted on federal corruption charges for demanding more than $100,000 in bribes from the owners of two drug rehabilitation clinics.

Gary Eugene Goethe, 48, of Sacramento, was sentenced yesterday afternoon by United States District Judge Gary A. Feess, who said Goethe’s conduct was “essentially a shakedown of those...over whom he has authority and the ability to control.” In May 2010, Goethe pleaded guilty to four counts of extortion under color of official right and two counts of bribery. In addition to the prison term he received today,

Goethe was ordered to repay the bribes he received during the FBI’s undercover investigation of his corrupt activities.

How Goethe operated his shakedown
Goethe worked for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) as a Drug Medi-Cal Monitoring Supervisor who traveled to alcohol and drug treatment clinics throughout California to inspect records and documentation related to Medi-Cal billings. ADP, which receives millions of dollars in funding every year from the United States government, is responsible for administering prevention, treatment and recovery services for alcohol abuse, drug abuse and problem gambling.

Goethe was arrested on July 9, 2009 by special agents with the FBI as he was leaving a meeting where he accepted a $3,500 cash payment that was part of a $10,000 bribe he had negotiated. Goethe subsequently pled guilty to having solicited and accepted bribes from rehabilitation facility owners in exchange for his promises of approvals and other benefits.

In a plea agreement filed in this case, Goethe admitted that he told a clinic owner that he could help the owner obtain certifications that would allow the owner to expand service offerings to include mental health treatment. Goethe admitted having promised that, in exchange for cash bribery payments, he could “guarantee” that the owner’s clinics would obtain certification to provide mental health treatment services. Goethe demanded $92,000 in bribery payments from the owner.

In relation to another facility, Goethe revealed to the owner that the clinic was being investigated by the California Department of Justice, but, in exchange for a cash bribe, Goethe could “help” the clinic owner by providing confidential information about the subjects and progress of the investigation, as well as steering CalDOJ away from the clinic. Goethe demanded $10,000 in bribe payments from the owner of this facility.

The case against Goethe was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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