Former Virgin Islands executive director jailed for bribery, extortion

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) says the former executive director of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Legislature has been sentenced to five years in prison for bribery and extortion.

The DOJ said Louis “Lolo” Willis, 57, a resident of St. Thomas, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez of the District of the Virgin Islands.

On Nov. 19, 2014, the DOJ said a jury in the Virgin Islands convicted Willis of four counts of U.S. federal programs bribery and extortion “under color of official right.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Willis was the executive director of the Legislature between 2009 and 2012.

His responsibilities included oversight of the major renovation of the Legislature building and awarding and entering into government contracts in connection with the project.

Willis was also responsible for authorizing payments to the contractors for their work.

Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Willis accepted bribes, including US$13,000 in cash and checks, from contractors in exchange for using his official position to secure more than US$350,000 in work for the contractors and to ensure they received payment upon completion.

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