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Undercover Operation Leads to Arrest of Health Inspectors

4:17 PM, May 1, 2012   |    comments
Steven Rivera (L), Moses Davis (R)
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced two arrests as a result of a multi-agency undercover operation into allegations health inspectors with the State of Florida were receiving bribes.

Police have arrested Moses Davis Jr., 54, and Steven Rivera, 44, and charged them with unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, a second-degree felony.


Detectives with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office's Integrity/Special Investigations Unit received a complaint in October 2011 that restaurant inspectors were demanding and accepting money so they would overlook violations, according to an arrest report from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

JSO along with the Clay County Sheriff's Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations began an investigation into the allegations.

An undercover investigation was set up where a fake complaint about a restaurant was registered.  When Moses Davis Jr., went to the restaurant to meet with the restaurant's owner, who was cooperating with law enforcement, the owner offered Davis $100 to overlook violations.

Davis listed the restaurant as having "met inspection standards during visit," overlooking several fineable offenses, the report said.

Tuesday, police arrested Davis at his home, charging him with unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior.

While investigating Davis in Jacksonville, law enforcement agencies were also investigating Steven Rivera by setting up the same type of sting operation but at a restaurant in Orange Park.

There was a difference between Davis and Rivera's interactions with the restaurant owners. 

Authorities claim Rivera and the owner had an understanding the owner would pay Rivera $200 anytime he came to inspect the restaurant.

The owner, who was also working with law enforcement, payed Rivera $200 in JSO funds and his restaurant was also given a "met inspection standards during visit," according to JSO.

Rivera was also arrested Tuesday at his home, charged with unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior.

There are 17 different restaurants that this type of illegal activity has happened at, according to information from Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda.  Those 17 restaurants each had multiple occurrences of health inspectors taking monetary compensation in exchange for restaurants receiving favorable inspections.

Rivera and Davis were taken to the Duval Country Pretrial Detention Facility.  At last report both were being held at the jail. Their bonds have been set at $100,003.






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