Destrehan man pleads guilty after federal indictment

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 8, 1999

L’Observateur / November 8, 1999

NEW ORLEANS – A Destrehan resident and member of the New Orleans Police Department pled guilty Monday to a three-count federal indictment.

Rodney McWilliams, 100 Dunleith Drive, admitted to lying to the U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development, which allowed him to buy property at 5 Curtis Drive, New Orleans.

U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan reported that the nation-wide, HUD-sponsored”Officer Next Door” program allowed McWilliams to get a 50 percent discount on the price of the New Orleans house and to make a $100 down payment on his requested FHA-insured financing.

McWilliams faces a possible nine-year prison term and fines totaling $750,000. Sentencing is set by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier for Jan.19.

Jordan explained that the “Officer Next Door” program, which aims at placing police officers directly in neighborhoods as a crime deterrant, requires that the officer agree to make the newly-bought house his primary residence for at least three years from the date of the closing.

On Sept. 15, 1997, McWilliams agreed to buy the New Orleans property andfalsely said he would make it his primary residence.

However, according to the plea, from May 1998 through December 1998, he instead rented the property to someone else for $325 per month, in violation of the agreement.

Jordan commented that this was the first guilty plea in a case involving the “Officer Next Door” program, and resulted from a lengthy investigation involving HUD and the FBI.

Prosecutor was Assistant U.S. Attorney Karl J. Conner.

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