PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- The former mayor of Central Falls has been arraigned on a charge of accepting gifts in return for granting lucrative contracts to a friend and political supporter.
Charles Moreau was officially charged with federal corruption Thursday, which was the culmination of a two-year investigation.
The judge entered a not guilty plea on Moreau's behalf due to legal reasons, but he's expected to plead guilty at a later hearing.
Prosecutors believe that the former mayor accepted favors from his friend Michael Bouthillette, and in exchange awarded him contracts to board up at least 167 properties in Central Falls. They say he went around state regulations that require contracts to be awarded based on competitive bids, and instead declared boarding up of vacant homes to be an "emergency".
"It was for the health, safety, and welfare of the people in Central Falls," said Moreau's attorney, William Murphy.
In return, Bouthillette allegedly provided free repair work on Moreau's Lincoln home.