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Report: Fire Inspector Takes Plea In Miami Beach Extortion Case

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(Source: CBS4) Defendant Chai Footman, a Miami Beach firefighter, runs from cameras without comment after appearing in federal court on corruption charges.

(Source: CBS4) Defendant Chai Footman, a Miami Beach firefighter, runs from cameras without comment after appearing in federal court on corruption charges.

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South Florida Crime

MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Chai Footman, who worked as a Miami Beach fire inspector, told a Miami federal judge Friday that he was part of a conspiracy that sought to shake down a Miami Beach club owner, who was actually an undercover FBI agent, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.

He was charged, along with Chief Code Compliance officer Jose Alberto, and officers Willie E. Grant, Orlando E. Gonzalez, Ramon D. Vasallo, Vincente Santiesteban along with Miami Beach fire inspector Henry Bryant.

Santiesteban has previously pled guilty to his role in the scheme. Both have said they will cooperate with prosecutors in the cases against the rest of the defendants.

All were caught allegedly shaking down a club owner to look the other way and ignore serious violations.

According to the FBI, Footman racked up bar tabs over a thousand dollars and took bribes in bathrooms to avoid cameras. In the course of the FBI sting, the men charged in the alleged conspiracy accepted cash bribes in excess of $25,000 from undercover agents.

Footman had worked for Miami Beach Fire-Rescue since 1999. He faces between 1.5 and 2 years in prison and will be sentenced on October 16, according to the Herald.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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