GREENBELT – More federal charges have been filed in the liquor board bribery conspiracy involving county and state officials.
Today, federal prosecutors announced Felix Nelson Ayala, an attorney and the founder of the non-profit Salvadoran Business Caucus (Caucus Salvadoreno Empresarial Inc. (CSE)) who lives in Rockville, has been charged with bribery and making false statements. He is set to appear in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt this afternoon.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Ayala is accused of making bribery payments in the amount of $5,000 to former county councilman and state delegate William Campos for fiscal years 2012 through 2015. In return, CSE received $25,000 in county grant funds each of those years, the affidavit alleges.
Federal law enforcement agents say they have photographs of Ayala making bribe payments to Campos on Sept. 23, 2014, at a Silver Spring restaurant and on Jan. 8, 2015, at Ayala’s Washington, D.C. law office. But when they questioned Ayala on Jan. 5, 2017, he allegedly “denied providing anything of value to Campos in exchange for receiving Prince George’s County grant money for CSE,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Campos pleaded guilty in early January to charges of accepting bribes in a larger conspiracy that also involves former liquor board Commissioner Anuj Sud and former Director of the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners David Son, county business owners and at least one state legislator. Campos served on the county council from 2004 to 2014 and as a delegate in the General Assembly from 2014 until his abrupt resignation in 2015.
The FBI, the IRS and Prince George’s County Police Department were involved in the investigation. Gordon Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office, has previously said public corruption is a main area of focus for his agency.
“Public corruption is a critical issue for us at the FBI,” Johnson said. “We devote a significant amount of resources to identifying public corruption and trying to root it out at any level. It goes to the heart of the rule of law, and that’s what we’re here to try to protect.”