Trading Favors: Developer Busted, City Hall Involved

A Shelton developer lined his own pockets after bribing a town official, a federal indictment released Monday revealed. 

James Botti, 45, was arrested at his home Monday morning and faces a seven-count indictment in connection with a scheme that began in 2002. 

According to the indictment, Botti conspired with a yet unannounced Shelton public official to hide about $147,000 in cash deposits, and then lie to the IRS. 

He paid and provided other favors to that public official, prosecutors said, in order to get support of a project he was developing.

Prosecutors say in December 2003, Botti told that public official that if he or any other public official tried to interfere, he'd expose the corrupt activities of  "17 developers and a good chunk of town hall" in Shelton.

Botti was able to get approval for a project at 828 Bridgeport Avenue, alleged prosecutors, after a second vote from the Planning and Zoning Commission in June 2006.

Here's how prosecutors say Botti beat the system: Banks have to file a report when deposits of more than $10,000 are made.  Prosecutors say he avoided those reports by depositing just under $10,000 at a time.  They say that in itself is a crime.

If convicted on all counts, Botti faces up to 55 years behind bars and a fine of up to $1.75 million dollars.

Authorities have not charged or released the identity of the town official involved in the investigation.

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