- Associated Press - Monday, March 30, 2015

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - A Caddo Parish commissioner is facing federal criminal charges in connection with a youth mentoring organization that received money from the commission.

Monday’s wire fraud indictment in Shreveport was announced by U.S. attorney Stephanie Finley’s office.

Finley said in the news release that Michael Dwayne Williams was indicted for allegedly defrauding the Caddo Parish Commission and stealing from a nonprofit meant to help at-risk youth.

The indictment alleges that from Oct. 1, 2012, through July 1, 2014, Williams devised a scheme to take more than $2,000 from a nonprofit’s bank account. Williams urged the parish commission to appropriate public funds for the nonprofit SWAG Nation.

Once those funds were allocated from the parish’s budget to SWAG Nation, the indictment alleges, Williams had a bank debit card issued for the nonprofit. Between April 2013 and July 2014, Williams used an ATM card to remove money on numerous occasions. According to the indictment, he took $100 to $200 each time he made a withdrawal, making 12 transactions from August 2013 to June 2014 for personal use.

Finley said SWAG Nation’s declared purpose was to partner with the Caddo commission to help counsel and mentor young people ages 7 to 17.

Williams faces up to 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each of the 12 counts.

“The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated Michael Williams for several months and is pleased with the return of this indictment,” Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator said in a news release issued through Finley’s office. “Unfortunately, there are people elected to office who will abuse the public’s trust. This money was meant for children, not politicians.”

Williams, reached by telephone, referred questions to his attorney, Elton Richey, who declined comment pending a review of the charges.

According to the parish website, Williams, 54, is a Democrat elected to the commission in 2012.

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