Former housing director sentenced in fraud case _lowres

aca housing bt Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK. Photo shot on 10/20/10. Lafayette Housing Authority Director Walter Guillory attends last week's meeting of the Housing Authority Commission. Guillory and Deputy Director Jonathan Carmouche resigned on Monday in the wake of a crititcal audit of the public housing authority.

The former public housing director in Lafayette and Opelousas was sentenced Wednesday to 28 months in federal prison for rigging bids and wire fraud, a sentence that took into account Walter Guillory’s cooperation in a continuing federal criminal probe.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote sentenced Guillory to two concurrent 28-month terms, meaning the 51-year-old will serve both sentences at the same time.

Foote said federal sentencing guidelines suggested a range of 57 months to 71 months for Guillory, but noted that prosecutor Kelly Uebinger requested a reduced sentence because of Guillory’s assistance in an ongoing probe into public housing.

Neither Foote nor Uebinger mentioned the names of others who might be implicated in the investigation.

“The government (prosecutors) has stressed the courage of your actions ...,” Foote said. The judge also took into account Guillory had no criminal history prior to the housing authority.

Guillory was executive director of the Lafayette Housing Authority from 1998 until he resigned in 2010, when a state audit noted problems with expenses and record keeping. For a few years during his top role in Lafayette, from 2005 to 2010, Guillory also doubled as head of the Opelousas Housing Authority.

He pleaded guilty to federal bribery and wire fraud charges in February. Federal prosecutors said he was part of a bid-rigging scheme at the Opelousas authority that funneled contracts to favored contractors. The government also said Guillory made housing authority vendors donate money, ostensibly to help out a baseball team Guillory sponsored.

Uebinger said at a plea hearing in February she estimated Guillory pocketed $100,000 from the donations. The gifts were mostly made in cash, Uebinger said, making it hard to determine how much went to the team.

Besides noting his help in the ongoing investigation, Foote on Wednesday noted Guillory’s remorse and what he’s done since he resigned in disgrace in 2010.

Guillory took a job washing cars at a Lake Charles car dealership and continued to work with kids through baseball.

“I’ve already repented to God for the mistakes that I made, and to my family,” Guillory said.

Through his attorney, Frank Dawkins, Guillory asked Foote to be sentenced to home confinement. Foote said no.

In 2011, the year after Guillory stepped down, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development dissolved the Lafayette Housing Authority board and took over management. HUD, which provides the bulk of the money to housing authorities in the U.S., continues to manage to local agency.

Two others associated with the Opelousas Housing Authority investigation have admitted guilt.

In September, Garnette L. Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Thomas, 75, was the Opelousas authority’s grant and capital funds coordinator from 2005 to 2009. Prosecutors said she was involved in rigging bids from 2007 to 2009.

In April, Duson businessman Kendall T. Anderson, the 41-year-old owner of Anderson Iron Works, also pleaded guilty to bid-rigging. Prosecutors believe Anderson steered Opelousas Housing Authority contracts to his business.

After serving his sentence, Guillory will be on supervised release for one year. He also was ordered to forfeit $100,000 to the government.

Guillory will report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at 2 p.m. on July 14 to begin his sentence. He requested on Wednesday that he be incarcerated at the federal minimum security prison in Oakdale.