Criminal Justice News

Friday, May 18, 2012

Man Pleads Guilty to Bribery of Home Elevation Program Official

NEW ORLEANS—Rickey Davis, age 44, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle to a one-count bill of information charging him with bribing an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to the court documents, Davis was in the business of securing elevation contracts with homeowners for general contractors and sub-contractors in exchange for money. From on or about March 25, 2011 until on or about October 4, 2011, Davis was employed by a number of different elevation contractors. The profit to be made for an elevation contract was such that some of Davis’ partners would pay Davis $10,000 for every signed contract secured for their company.

On or about April 1, 2011, Davis bribed Wanda Acker Williams, an agent of OCD/DRU (state of Louisiana) in her capacity as a mitigation analyst of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) located in New Orleans, Louisiana, to get a list of eligible homeowner names from the computer system at the New Orleans office to give to Davis. Williams and other witnesses would testify that at this time, Davis wanted Williams to get him names of applicants from a proprietary list generated by HMGP.

Over the next few months, Williams provided Davis with approximately 10 lists of eligible homeowner names, some of which were duplicate lists of names Williams had previously generated for Davis. The lists were specific to the subdivisions, towns, and zipcodes requested by Davis, most of which were located on the Westbank of Orleans Parish. Each time Williams created a new list for Davis, he bribed her by corruptly giving her up to $1,000 in cash.

Davis is scheduled for sentencing on August 22, 2012. He faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges stemming from her receipt of these bribes on January 19, 2012. She is scheduled for sentencing on May 24, 2012.

The case is being investigated by Department of Homeland Security-OIG, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Emily K. Greenfield and Matthew Coman.

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