By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
NEW ORLEANS – Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that former St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter P. Reed and his son Steven P. Reed were both sentenced this past week in federal court after being convicted by a federal jury in May of 2016.
Walter Reed received what was heralded as an extremely light sentence when he was given a four year prison term, considering he could have received up to 11 years in prison. His son received only five years probation.
After a trial last year Walter Reed was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering; seven counts of wire fraud; one count of money laundering; four counts of false statement on income tax return; and five counts of mail fraud.
Steven Reed was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and money laundering; one count of wire fraud; and, one count of money laundering,
Walter Reed, 70, thanked U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon before he even heard his own sentence, stating “I know you are about to impose a life sentence on me, but today is a good day. You gave my son probation.”
Walter Reed was sentenced to 48 months incarceration to be followed by two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $572,000 in restitution, $40,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, and a $15,000 fine. Additionally, per a prior ruling, he was ordered to pay $609,217.08 in forfeiture. Fallon also ordered the two men to remain responsible for $46,200 in forfeiture.
Steven Reed was additionally sentenced to perform 50 hours of community service to go with his five year probation sentence.
Walter Reed had served 30 years as district attorney for the 22nd Judicial Court, serving St. Tammany and Washington parishes, but came under scrutiny three years ago for alleged misuse of public money.
Reed was convicted of using public money to buy flowers for family members, lunches for people who were his supporters and campaign money he gave to a preacher, reportedly for his support. However, that money was used to build a gym at the church for kids to use. He reportedly used thousands of dollars from the D.A. account for personal use although much of the money went to others.
Even Fallon made a point during sentencing to note that “this case is unusual” in that Reed didn’t spend much of the money on himself. It was generally directed towards individuals or groups who supported him over his 30 years as the top law enforcer in St. Tammany Parish.
Reed was also convicted of pocketing $30,000 in payment for legal advice from the St. Tammany Parish Hospital, where he was to be providing legal assistance that should have seen the money go to the D.A.’s Office.
Reed will remain free on bond as his lawyer appeals the case.
“Walter and Steven Reed broke the law and have now been punished for their crimes,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans. “We want to assure the public that with the continued assistance from our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, this Office will identify and prosecute any individual who commits an act of public corruption.”
“I would like to thank the men and women of the FBI, the IRS, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their hard work on this very important matter,” stated FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Sallet.
“Today, Walter and Stephen Reed were held accountable for their actions. It is a severe abuse of the public trust when elected officials misuse campaign funds for personal purposes, and abuse their positions for personal gain. IRS – Criminal Investigation is extremely proud of the work we do in cases such as these, and we stand ready to pursue further investigation and criminal actions against individuals engaged in all forms of public corruption,” stated Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jerome R. McDuffie.
Acting U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation for investigating this matter and thanked the Metropolitan Crime Commission for its assistance. The prosecution of this case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Jordan Ginsberg, Brian M. Klebba, Maria Carboni, and Jeff Sandman.