Former Stockholder Files Lawsuit Against Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson

A former stockholder in a technology company filed suit Tuesday against a Louisiana congressman, his wife and a former business associate claiming they engaged in a scheme to defraud stockholders by using business funds to pay bribes.

The suit alleges that U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., his wife Andrea G. Jefferson and Vernon Jackson, former chief executive of the telecommunications firm iGate, engaged in an elicit scheme to funnel money to Jefferson, his family and foreign officials. iGate stockholder Daniel C. Cadle of Ohio filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Louisville.

The allegations mirror those in an ongoing federal investigation of Jefferson and his business dealings. Cadle is seeking unspecified damages on behalf of all iGate stockholders.

As part of that investigation, Jackson, 54, of Louisville, pleaded guilty to paying more than $400,000 in bribes to Jefferson in order to gain the congressman's help in obtaining business deals in Africa.

Jackson is serving seven years in federal prison. Jefferson has not been charged, but court records and the lawsuit indicate that the FBI caught Jefferson on videotape taking a $100,000 cash bribe. Most of that money later turned up in a freezer in Jefferson's home.

Jefferson has denied any wrongdoing. Messages left for Jefferson's lawyer, Robert Trout, were not immediately returned Tuesday.