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Prosecutors receive award for bribery case - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Prosecutors receive award for bribery case

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Lafayette Federal Courthouse Lafayette Federal Courthouse

 Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Luke Walker and Robert C. Abendroth of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Louisiana were two of 179 members of the Department of Justice recognized last week in Washington, D.C.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys Director Monty Wilkinson made the recognition at the 33rd Director’s Awards Ceremony last week in Washington, D.C.

The Western District of Louisiana was one of 35 districts represented at the ceremony, which was held Friday in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.

“These 179 award recipients embody the best of the Department of Justice. Today’s honorees have earned the esteem of their colleagues,” Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein told the awardees in prepared remarks. “But most importantly, you have earned the gratitude of your fellow citizens — whose communities you have made safer, whose lives you have improved and whose trust you have rewarded.”

“I want to congratulate Luke and Robert for their efforts in ending an illegal pay-for-plea program that circumvented, undermined and damaged the justice system in Lafayette Parish,” Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook stated. “It took years of work, collaboration with many agencies and great effort to bring this case to a conclusion.”

Walker and Abendroth were recognized for their prosecution of U.S. v. Robert Williams et al. Their efforts led to the conviction of six defendants who devised a scheme to enrich themselves by administering a court authorized Operating While Intoxicated program from March 2008 to February 2012 through the Lafayette District Attorney’s Office.

In return for a fee, fake documentation would be submitted to the court showing they had completed the required programs when they had not. The fees would then be paid as kickbacks to those participating in the conspiracy. Local private investigator Robert Williamson, three Lafayette District Attorney’s Office employees and two community services program employees were convicted in the case.

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