Former California Mayor Indicted In Bribery Scheme

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A grand jury has indicted the former mayor of Palm Springs in a public corruption case that alleges he took $375,000 in bribes from real estate developers.

Former Mayor Stephen Philip Pougnet could be barred for life from holding public office if he is convicted, according to Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin. He faces up to 19 years in prison.

Real estate developers Richard Hugh Meaney and John Elroy Wessman were also charged. The defendants will be arraigned in Riverside County Superior Court on Sept. 12.

Officials allege Meaney and Wessman secretly funneled money to Pougnet between 2012 and 2014 when they had lucrative development projects before the city council. Pougnet allegedly voted on the projects and did not disclose his financial interest.

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