NEWORLEANS-- Former city technology chief Greg Meffert, a key figure in the corruption case against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
He was initially ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on Nov. 4, but the judge said he was open to a 60-day extension to January. 4.
Before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon delivered the sentence, Meffert apologized for his actions.
'I'm sorry for my actions and decisions that I made all those years ago,' Meffert said. 'I've lost everything I had. I lost the ability to provide for my family. I lost my name.'
Meffert's attorney Randy Smith argued that his client should get a break in his sentence because he helped government convict Nagin. Prosecutors for the government agreed, asking for departure from the 8-year sentencing guideline.
'It was hubris, vanity; it was idiotic,' Meffert said.
Prosecutor Matt Coman called Meffert a 'once in a lifetime cooperating witness. He worked day and night to help us make some difficult cases.' He asked Fallon to fashion a sentence for Meffert that encourages others to come forward and cooperate.
The self-proclaimed 'deputy mayor' and crime-fighter presented himself as a 'rich guy' with a yacht. He supplied vacations for Nagin and got gifts financed by city technology office vendor Mark St. Pierre.
He pleaded guilty in 2010 to taking $860,000 in kickbacks from St. Pierre in exchange for getting St. Pierre lucrative city contracts.
According to Meffert's grand jury indictment, between 2002 and 2009, Meffert and St. Pierre, through St. Pierre's companies Imagine Software, NetMethods, Method Investments, and Veracent, participated in a conspiracy to use Meffert's position with the City to manipulate the procurement process for technology services to provide millions of dollars in city business funds to St. Pierre and his companies who illegally made payoffs or kickbacks to Meffert and his wife Linda.
Specifically, the indictment alleged that Meffert changed city procedures in order to ensure that St. Pierre's companies would receive city business without participating in a competitive bid process; also ensuring that prime contractors served only as a conduit for work directed by Meffert and St. Pierre.
According to the government, part of the scheme was that Meffert failed to disclose his conflict of interest and payments and benefits from St. Pierre. Meffert is hoping his cooperation and testimony during Nagin's trial in February and his turn on the stand during St. Pierre's 2011 corruption trial will earn him a reduced sentence.
During the Nagin trial, Meffert choked back tears as his testified about the kickbacks he funneled to the former mayor. Meffert told prosecutors that Nagin knew St. Pierre was paying for trips to Hawaii and Jamaica and was providing cellphones for his children.
'I let everyone down,' Meffert said.
When Nagin took the stand, he testified that Meffert was a liar. 'He lied a lot of time. To the feds and the FBI and in his civil case. I think Meffert lied a lot. He's quite a storyteller,' Nagin said.
Meffert was sentenced just days before Ray Nagin heads to prison for the next 10 years. He must report to a federal correction institution in Texarkana, Texas by noon on Monday.