Former bondsman pleads guilty to conspiracy

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A former New Orleans bail bondsman has pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring with a former parish employee to illegally release criminal defendants from the sheriff's custody without a judge's authorization.

Willie J. Irons Jr. entered the plea Thursday before U.S. District Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office says Irons admitted paying Gilishia Garrison, who worked part-time for the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office and full-time at the Orleans Parish Criminal Clerk's office, to manipulate the sheriff's office's computer system and forge court documents so that four defendants could be released on their own recognizance. Garrison pleaded guilty for her role in the scheme last January.

Sentencing for Irons was set for Sept. 13. He faces up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

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