Former Local Church Leader and Spouse Sentenced for Unlawfully Obtaining and Misusing Federal Grant Funds
Las Vegas, Nev. – A former local church leader and his spouse were sentenced today in U.S. District Court for their guilty pleas to unlawfully obtaining federal grant program funds and other felony charges, announced Steven W. Myhre, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Willie Davis, age 70, former pastor of the Second Baptist Church at 500 West Madison Avenue in Las Vegas, was sentenced to five years of probation, a $5,000 fine, and ordered to pay $2,900 in restitution. He was also banned from any association with government grants for the next five years. He pleaded guilty in February to one count of Theft of Government Property and one count of False Statements to a Government Agency. His wife, Emma M. Davis, age 53, was sentenced to two years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $5,000 fine, and ordered to pay $11,609.87 in restitution. She was also banned from any association with government grants for the next five years. She pleaded guilty in February to one count of Theft of Government Property, one count of Obstruction of a Proceeding Before a Federal Agency, and one count of Misuse of a Social Security Number.
A third defendant, McTheron Jones, age 73, is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow, June 28, 2007, at 1:30 p.m. Jones pleaded guilty in January 2007 to Theft of Government Property and Obstruction of a Proceeding Before a Federal Agency.
Willie Davis, Emma M. Davis and McTheron Jones were indicted by the Federal Grand Jury in September 2005 on charges that they conspired to defraud the United States Government by obtaining U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grant funds under false pretenses in order to enrich themselves. In 2002, through a non-profit organization known as Alliance Collegiums Association of Nevada (ACAN), the defendants applied for and obtained a one-year $423,000 DOJ grant to operate halfway houses as part of pre-release and re-entry programs for prison inmates in Southern Nevada. Willie Davis and Emma Davis were experiencing financial difficulties at the time, and had filed for personal bankruptcy in December 2002.
In June 2003, DOJ froze ACAN's grant funding following allegations of misconduct. ACAN had withdrawn and eventually expended approximately $330,000. The DOJ Office of the Inspector General(DOJ-OIG) conducted an investigation of ACAN, which determined that Willie Davis, Emma Davis, and McTheron Jones obtained government funds unlawfully and obstructed a proceeding of a government agency. Specifically, they determined that:
- Willie Davis falsely stated in a letter to DOJ and to DOJ OIG investigators that Emma Davis had been hired and approved as Executive Director of ACAN, when in fact she had not been hired in that manner;
- Emma Davis and others received pay for time when they were not in the ACAN offices and were given pay raises not allowed or approved under the terms of the grant;
- Emma Davis sent false materials to investigators in response to a subpoena, including false corporate records and time sheets, and an employment application for Emma Davis that falsely claimed she had no criminal history, when in fact she had been previously convicted of a federal felony offense;
- In May 2003, Willie Davis unlawfully received a check for $2,900 for consulting fees which was not allowed under the terms of the grant;
- In July 2003, Emma Davis and McTheron Jones made false statements to the federal agents who were investigating the alleged wrongdoings; and that
- In June 2000, Emma Davis used a false social security number to obtain a $90,000 loan from Community Bank of Nevada and in the 2002 bankruptcy petition she filed with her husband Willie Davis.
No halfway house was ever opened for inmates under the ACAN grant.
Emma Davis was permitted 60 days to self-report to federal prison. She remains free on a personal recognizance bond until then.
The case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice and the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Russell E. Marsh, Kathleen Bliss, and Steven W. Myhre.