State judge faces federal fraud charges; Filing identifies two lawyers in St. Bernard as conspirators
More than two months after being arrested by the FBI in connection with a judicial corruption scheme, St. Bernard Parish Judge Wayne Cresap has been formally charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Two St. Bernard Parish lawyers, accused in the scheme, were also charged Wednesday.
Cresap, 62, was charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office in a bill of information, along with St. Bernard Parish lawyers Victor J. "V.J." Dauterive and Nunzio Salvadore "Sal" Cusimano.
The official charges brought against Cusimano and Dauterive bring an end to months of rumors in the St. Bernard legal community about the identity of Cresap's alleged
According to the bill of information, Cresap allegedly took more than $1,000 in cash from each lawyer in exchange for allowing inmates to be released from the St. Bernard Parish Prison without putting up bond money.
Cresap, Cusimano and Dauterive "did knowingly and willfully devise a scheme and artifice to defraud the citizens of the State of Louisiana and Parish of St. Bernard, by depriving them of the honest and faithful judicial services of Wayne G. Cresap, services which should be free from deceit, bias,
Conversion of bonds
The U.S. Attorney's Office outlines a scheme in which Cresap converted secured bonds, which require actual money or property to be pledged, into personal surety bonds that required only a written agreement that the money would be paid if the defendant skipped court. The lawyers would take cash from the inmate's family or friends, then split the money with Cresap.
Dauterive declined to comment Wednesday evening, saying "I haven't been told anything, so I really can't confirm anything." A woman answering the phone at Cusimano's home said he was unavailable and hung up.
Cresap's attorney, Pat Fanning, could not be reached for comment because his voice mailbox was full.
Cresap was arrested April 24 by the FBI in connection with the scheme. Cresap was released from Orleans Parish Prison shortly after the arrest.
The affidavit from the initial arrest says Cresap admitted the scheme when FBI agents confronted him in a parking lot April 9. He was arrested more than two weeks later and charged based on a criminal complaint, an unusual tactic for cases involving
Letten said agents arrested him at that time because of concerns that Cresap might harm himself.
Last month, the Louisiana Supreme Court appointed retired Judge Robert Klees, a former chief judge for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal, to take over Cresap's court through
Both Cusimano and Dauterive have been active in St. Bernard's legal and civic communities for years. Cusimano currently serves on the parish's Planning Commission, which is appointed by the council. Dauterive is chairman of the St. Bernard Community Foundation, an arm of the Greater New Orleans Foundation that aims to funnel nonprofit funds to recovery projects in the parish.
Dauterive was active with the St. Bernard Parish Police Jury, the forerunner to the Parish Council, in the 1980s. As the
Cresap had been a central figure in some of St. Bernard's most f
The Times-Picayune Publishing Corporation
From: Chris Kirkham, "State judge faces federal fraud charges; Filing identifies two lawyers in St. Bernard as conspirators," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, July 2, 2009, Metro,