An employee of California’s workplace safety regulatory agency was arrested on bribery charges after allegedly soliciting a bribe from a construction company in exchange for reducing penalties the company was facing for safety violations.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the arrest of Richard Fazlollahi, a district manager with the California Department of Industrial Relations-Division of Occupational Safety & Health, on Friday in a statement.
The arrest resulted from an investigation conducted by the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Investigation, and the case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's Financial Fraud and Special Prosecution Section. The investigation was initiated when the company from which the defendant sought a bribe alerted law enforcement.
After the company exercised its right to challenge citations, the defendant allegedly used an informal conference as an opportunity to solicit concrete work for his personal residence in exchange for a reduction in citations, according to the complaint. Operating under the assumption that the concrete work would be completed, Mr. Fazlollahi then represented Cal/OSHA at an administrative hearing where he reduced the citations, according to the complaint.
Cal/OSHA said it "has fully cooperated with law enforcement in this matter and will continue to do so."