LOS ANGELES, AUG. 11 -- Rep. Walter R. Tucker III (D-Calif.) was indicted today for allegedly extorting $30,000 from a company and demanding $250,000 more while he was Compton mayor.
A federal grand jury indicted Tucker on eight counts of extortion and two counts of filing false tax returns because he did not pay taxes on the money, authorities said. Any income, legal or not, is subject to federal tax.
The indictment alleges that Tucker received $30,000 in bribes in 1991 and 1992 from Compton Energy Systems, which wanted to build a waste-to-energy plant.
Tucker later demanded another $250,000 from the company, according to the indictment. No plant was ever built.
"I unequivocally and categorically deny all charges that have been brought against me," Tucker said in a statement.
He said he would not allow the charges to interfere with his work in Congress.
U.S. Attorney Nora Manella refused to discuss the evidence against Tucker and most other details in the case.
"We'll have to wait for the trial," she said at a news conference.
An arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 22 before U.S. Magistrate Judge James McMahon.
The indictment follows a two-year FBI investigation of Compton politics.
The investigation included videotaped meetings in which Tucker allegedly took money from an undercover agent to put items on the City Council agenda.
Tucker, 37, was elected mayor of the Los Angeles suburb in 1990 following the death of his father, who served three terms as mayor.
He was elected to Congress in 1992 and trounced a Democratic challenger in the June primary.
Tucker, 37, was fired as a county deputy district attorney in 1988, when he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge that he altered a court document.
Compton Energy Systems was suspended by the state Franchise Tax Board in 1988 for not filing a 1986 return, agency spokesman Jim Reber said today. Company president John Macardican did not return a phone call.