Williams to plead guilty to racketeering charges
Published: January 15, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Former V.I. Senator Alvin Williams Jr. has agreed to a plead guilty to racketeering in a federal and local corruption case brought against him just more than two months ago.
According to a plea application filed in District Court on Monday, Williams agreed to plead guilty to count one of a nine-count grand jury indictment handed down Nov. 8. That count charges Williams with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act while he served in the 27th, 28th and 29th Legislatures.
The first count of the indictment includes the following allegations:
- In September 2009, Williams attempted to bribe V.I. Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls with $10,000 in cash in exchange for future government work for his and his father's company, Ace Development.
- Between February 2007 and November 2011, Williams influenced and promoted legislative action in support of the Raphune Vistas housing project, valued at as much as $2 million, of which Ace Development stood to gain more than $789,000.
- In September 2008, Williams solicited or received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the developers of the Tutu Park Mall windmill project in exchange for legislative support for the project.
- Between 2010 and 2011, Williams increased the salary of a legislative staff member in exchange for the staff member giving Williams a portion of the salary increase.
- Between April 2007 and October 2011, one of Williams' legislative staff members submitted online course work to the University of Phoenix and falsely attributed it to Williams.
Williams, 34, agreed to plead guilty to the crimes, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and an aggregate fine of $250,000, according to the plea application.
Williams would face a maximum penalty of 80 years in jail and $568,000 in fines on all nine counts in the indictment, the application states.
The remaining counts of the indictment accuse Williams and others of federal program bribery, and Virgin Islands crimes of bribery, conflict of interest related to bribery, conspiracy related to fraudulent claims upon government, obtaining money by false pretenses, embezzlement and falsification of a public account and obtaining money by false pretenses related to an online university degree.
The other defendants in the case are Williams' former chief of staff, Kim Blackett, his former senior adviser, Garry Sprauve, and Ace Development, a company the government alleges has been run for decades by Williams and his father, Alvin Williams Sr.
Under the terms of the plea, the government would dismiss counts two through nine with respect to Alvin Williams Jr., according to the plea application. The government also would agree to bring no further related charges, recommend credit for acceptance of responsibility and "will consider other recommendations," the application states.
The indictment itself seeks to recover more than $1.1 million in property or proceeds from the alleged crimes. Alvin Williams Jr.'s plea application makes no reference to restitution or other financial penalties beyond the $250,000 maximum fine.
Attorneys on both sides agreed to request a Thursday hearing at which the court can decide whether to accept Alvin Williams Jr.'s change of plea.
Messages left late Monday for Alvin Williams Jr.'s attorney, Gordon Rhea, were not immediately returned. Attempts to reach Alvin Williams Jr.'s also were unsuccessful.
U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe declined to comment for this story.
- Contact Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.