Former Bail Bondsman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 07, 2012|
NEW ORLEANS—Willie J. Irons, Jr., age 56, a former Orleans Parish bail bondsman, pled guilty today before United States District Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown to conspiring with a former employee of both the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office and the Orleans Parish Criminal Clerk’s Office to illegally release criminal defendants from the sheriff’s custody without judicial authorization, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to the factual basis filed today, Irons paid Gilishia Garrison to manipulate the Sheriff’s Office’s computer system and to fabricate and forge official court documents to effect the release of Orleans Parish criminal defendants. Until 2010, Gilishia Garrison was a part-time Sheriff’s Office employee and a full-time employee of the Criminal Clerk’s Office.
Irons admitted today that he paid Garrison cash in exchange for her manipulation of the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s computer systems, including the MONA system and the CINTAP system. Additionally, Irons’ payments to Garrison ensured Garrison’s forging and fabrication of personal recognizance bonds for the four criminal defendants.
In each of the instances described in the Factual Basis, Irons was in telephonic contact with Garrison, paid her money, and secured the release of the Orleans Parish criminal defendants. The defendants had been ordered held on bonds ranging from $2,500 to $14,000. Irons also admitted that he was not a licensed bail bondsman at any time during these illegal transactions.
Willie J. Irons, Jr. will be sentenced on September 13, 2012 and faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Garrison pled guilty to related offenses in January 2011. An unindicted co-conspirator in this case, Garrison is scheduled to be sentenced for the crimes to which she pled guilty on May 24, 2012 before United States District Judge Eldon Fallon.
Speaking on today’s conviction, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten stated, “Yet another individual stands convicted of a corruption offense which threatened to undermine the integrity and efficiency of our criminal court system—and more important, could have affected the safety of our citizens. This case provides yet another clear example of how corruption can and does affect our institutions and our quality of life. We will continue to maintain a zero-tolerance for corruption of any kind, and we will continue this investigation.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Orleans Police Department, and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, with special assistance from Assistant District Attorney Michael Redmann. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United states Attorneys Daniel P. Friel and Brian P. Marcelle.