Louisiana Lawyers Buy Judge

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Usually, suspicion that a judge favours one team of attorneys over another is just courtroom paranoia.

But here’s a case where lawyers really bought the judge.

Wayne Cresap, a Louisiana judge, was bribed by two lawyers, Nunzio Cusimano and Victor Dauterive, for $80,000 so their clients could get out on bail with no bond money and only a signature.

FBI: According to court documents, CRESAP, an elected judge of the 34th Judicial District Court for the Parish of St. Bernard, entered into an illegal agreement with lawyers CUSIMANO and DAUTERIVE, in which CRESAP converted secured bond obligations to unsecured personal surety bonds, thereby allowing the releases of charged individuals on signatures, and without collateral security. The scheme would begin when clients of CUSIMANO or DAUTERIVE would retain them to facilitate the release of an inmate being held on a secured bond which they could not afford. CUSIMANO or DAUTERIVE would then place a telephone call to CRESAP and request that the secured bond be converted to an unsecured surety bond which allowed the inmate’s release on a mere signature. After CRESAP converted the bond, thereby allowing inmate’s release, either CUSIMANO or DAUTERIVE would make a cash payment to CRESAP. Court documents further reveal that CRESAP received over $80,000 in illegal payments, that DAUTERIVE paid over $70,000 to CRESAP and that CUSIMANO paid over $10,000 to CRESAP in furtherance of and during the course of the scheme to defraud.

All three pleaded guilty and the judge has resigned. The defendants face a maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten told the local ABC affiliate nearly 100 inmates were released
through the scheme, but he “does not believe any of the prisoners had committed violent crimes.”

“That scheme was a simple one, but it was a classic kickback payoff scheme,” Letten said.

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