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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 21, 2016

Caddo Parish Commissioner Michael Williams sentenced to 14 months for stealing from nonprofit

SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Caddo Parish Commissioner Michael Dwayne Williams was sentenced to 14 months in prison for stealing from a nonprofit meant to help at-risk youth.

Williams, 55, of Shreveport, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. on 11 counts of wire fraud. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay $8,584.68 restitution, a $10,000 fine and $1,100 to the Crime Victims Fund. According to evidence presented at the four-day trial that ended on March 10, 2016, Williams took more than $8,000 from a nonprofit’s bank account from October 1, 2012 through July 1, 2014. Williams urged the parish commission to appropriate public funds for the nonprofit SWAG Nation. Once those funds were allocated from the parish’s budget to SWAG Nation, Williams caused a bank debit card to be issued for the nonprofit. Between April of 2013 and July of 2014, Williams used the card to remove money on numerous occasions. According to the indictment, he took $100 to $200 each time that he made a withdrawal. Evidence presented at trial showed the defendant used the card in excess of 45 times for cash withdrawals and purchases.  SWAG Nation’s declared purpose is to partner with local institutions to help mentor and counsel at-risk individuals ages 7 to 17 so that they can better function in society.

“Mr. Williams put greed before the needs of his constituents by stealing money from a program set up to help at-risk youth,” stated Finley.  “His actions are a betrayal of the public trust and his oath of office.”

“Stealing is bad enough, but when you’re an elected official, you are stealing from the taxpayers who put their faith and trust in you,” Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator said. “Mr. Williams violated the public’s trust and should now be held accountable.”

The FBI and the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph G. Jarzabek and Brandon B. Brown prosecuted the case.

Updated July 21, 2016