Monday, November 2, 2009

Bond Bribes Pleas Lead To Interim Suspension

The Louisiana Supreme Court has entered orders of interim suspension against two lawyers who pleaded guilty to charges that they had schemed to bribe a judge. This posting from the web page of the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana describes the plea:

WAYNE G. CRESAP, age 62, NUNZIO SALVADORE CUSIMANO, JR., a/k/a Sal Cusimano, age 58, both residents of St. Bernard Parish, and VICTOR J. DAUTERIVE, a/k/a V. J. Dauterive, age 57, a resident of Prairieville, Louisiana, pled guilty in federal court tody before U. S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon to conspiracy to deprive the citizens of St. Bernard Parish of their right to receive the honest services of Judge WAYNE G. CRESAP, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to court documents, CRESAP, an elected judge of the 34th Judicial District Court for the Parish of St. Bernard, entered into an illegal agreement with lawyers CUSIMANO and DAUTERIVE, in which CRESAP converted secured bond obligations to unsecured personal surety bonds, thereby allowing the releases of charged individuals on signatures, and without collateral security. The scheme would begin when clients of CUSIMANO or DAUTERIVE would retain them to facilitate the release of an inmate being held on a secured bond which they could not afford. CUSIMANO or DAUTERIVE would then place a telephone call to CRESAP and request that the secured bond be converted to an unsecured surety bond which allowed the inmate’s release on a mere signature. After CRESAP converted the bond, thereby allowing inmate’s release, either CUSIMANO or DAUTERIVE would make a cash payment to CRESAP. Court documents further reveal that CRESAP received over $80,000 in illegal payments, that DAUTERIVE paid over $70,000 to CRESAP and that CUSIMANO paid over $10,000 to CRESAP in furtherance of and during the course of the scheme to defraud.

The defendants face a maximum prison term of five (5) years and a $250,000 fine, as well as possible restitution and supervised release. Sentencing is set for January 14, 2010.

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