NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Two attorneys were sentenced to federal prison for a bail-rigging scheme they ran with a judge. Former St. Bernard Parish Judge Wayne G. Cresap took kickbacks from the lawyers, according to a federal information. Cresap, who is cooperating with prosecutors, is to be sentenced on July 1.
Cresap converted secure bond obligations to unsecured personal surety bonds at the request of attorneys Nunzio Salvador Cusimano and Victor J. Dauterive, allowing prisoners to be released on signatures rather than with collateral, according to the federal information.
When a Cusimano or Dauterive client could not afford bail, the attorneys called Judge Cresap and asked that the secured bond be changed to an unsecured bond, springing the prisoner on a signature. The client paid cash to Cusimano or Dauterive, and the attorneys kicked back to the judge, according to the information.
The scheme became public in April 2009 after an FBI agent filed an affidavit describing the arrangement.
Cresap and Dauterive both pleaded guilty to taking between $70,000 and $120,000 over the 5 years beginning in 2004. Cusimano pleaded guilty to taking between $10,000 and $30,000 during the same period.
According to the FBI affidavit, Cresap admitted to the bribery charges during an interview with the FBI in a public parking lot in April 2009.
Cresap's sentencing, originally set for last week, has been rescheduled for July 1.
In his plea deal, Cresap agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and potential grand juries in other investigations.
Cusimano was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison and fined$6,000.
Dauterive was sentenced to 48 months and fined $25,000.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Dauterive's sentence was tougher because he did it more often than Cusimano, and he had a prior conviction.
Dauterive pleaded guilty in 1987 to concealing a felony during a federal probe of bid-rigging and kickbacks, when he was secretary-treasurer of the St. Bernard Parish Police Jury, according to the Times-Picayune.
Dauterive and Cresap were originally charged with wire fraud and of depriving the public of honest services. The wire fraud charge was because the men used telephones in the bond scheme, according to the information.