By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A former senior official with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office is the fourth to agree to a plea deal in connection with a corruption investigation into that agency and the LADWP.

Thomas H. Peters, 55, of Pacific Palisades, agreed to plead guilty to aiding and abetting extortion, a crime that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, according to a plea agreement filed Monday in United States District Court. Peters is expected to make his first court appearance on Feb. 7.

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Peters served as the chief of the civil litigation branch of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office between February 2014 to March 2019. By December 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says the city and LADWP were facing multiple class-action lawsuits over the botched rollout of a new billing system the prior year, prompting the LA City Attorney’s Office to hire New York-based Paul O. Paradis and Beverly Hills plaintiff’s attorney Paul R. Kiesel to represent them against PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). PwC was blamed for the billing debacle that massively overcharged thousands of ratepayers, while significantly undercharging others.

Prosecutors say Peters threatened to fire Kiesel from the lucrative special counsel job with the city unless he paid a substantial extortion demand from a former employee who was threatening to expose the city’s collusive litigation over its faulty water-and-power billing system.

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According to his plea agreement, Peters admitted to concealing the extortion and collusion when questioned about $800,000 to the former employee identified only as Person A.

Plea agreements have also been secured from Paradis, LADWP’s former general manager David H. Wright, and LADWP’s former senior cyber official David F. Alexander.

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An FBI investigation into both agencies is continuing. Anyone with information related to this investigation or other public corruption in the City of Los Angeles can email the FBI’s tip line at pctips-losangeles@fbi.gov or call (310) 477-6565.