Private investigator Williamson pleads guilty to charges in bribery case
LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that private investigator Robert Williamson pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in a pay-for-plea scheme that garnered favorable treatment for defendants charged with various state crimes.
Prior to the start of trial that was scheduled to begin today, Williamson, 64, of Lafayette, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote to one count of conspiracy, one count of bribery, and one count of Social Security fraud.
According to the guilty plea, Williamson, who is not licensed to practice law, was part of a conspiracy from March 2008 to February 2012 to solicit thousands of dollars from individuals with pending criminal charges in the 15th Judicial District. Williamson promised favorable resolutions to pending felony and misdemeanor cases, the majority of which were OWI cases. Williamson paid bribes in cash and other things of value to former personnel within the District Attorney=s Office for the 15th Judicial District and employees with other organizations associated with the OWI program, including Acadiana Outreach. Williamson also obtained false and fraudulent certifications from Acadiana Outreach, which certified that his clients completed court-ordered community service, when in fact the individuals had not. Williamson would obtain fraudulent driver safety training certificates showing that Williamson=s Aclients@ completed court-mandated driver improvement programs when they had not. Some of those monies were for fines, penalties and other expenses. The total fraudulent amount will be determined at sentencing. During this time, Robert Williamson also received approximately $77,677.20 from the Social Security Administration that he was not entitled to receive.
“Today marks a successful conclusion of the corruption case involving this defendant and former employees of the Lafayette District Attorney’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley. “This is a win for the people of our community who no longer have to be concerned about drunk drivers subverting the criminal justice system. Mr. Williamson will now be held accountable for his role in this bribery scheme and for defrauding the Social Security Administration. I want to personally thank the investigators and prosecutors who worked so diligently on this case.”
Williamson faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy count, 10 years in prison for the bribery count, and five years in prison for the Social Security fraud count. He also faces a $250,000 fine or both with up to three years of supervised release for each count. A sentencing date of September 25, 2015 was set.
The FBI and the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Luke Walker and Robert C. Abendroth are prosecuting the case.