Former Miami Beach Lead Code Compliance Officer Pleads Guilty to Extortion Charge

Jose L. Alberto faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted

By Karen Franklin
|  Monday, Aug 6, 2012  |  Updated 11:37 PM EDT
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Miami Beach’s former lead code compliance officer pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit extortion after authorities said he accepted cash payments from a club owner in exchange for immunity from potential code violations, the Department of Justice announced.

Jose L. Alberto, who oversaw and managed the city’s code compliance officers, is accused of participating in a scheme to extort cash from a South Beach nightclub. After the business' owner alerted police, authorities said Alberto accepted 22 separate payoffs from the owner and an undercover agent.

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In court Monday, Alberto admitted to soliciting the cash in June 2011, according to the department. He also said he introduced the nightclub owner to other code officers to "help protect the nightclub." Officers Vicente Santiesteban and Orlando Gonzalez, who also allegedly received the illegal cash payments, pleaded guilty to conspiring with him.

Alberto is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 2 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

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