Zurik: Former state senator sentenced to probation, ordered to repay $188,000 state loan

Bishop was supposed to use the loan to rent a property to low-income tenants
Zurik: A look inside our Wesley Bishop investigation
Zurik: A look inside our Wesley Bishop investigation
Updated: Jul. 14, 2020 at 12:49 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A federal judge has sentenced a former Louisiana State Senator to probation for falsifying information to a federal housing agency related to a loan on a rental property.

Former State Senator Wesley Bishop was sentenced to four years of probation for providing false information to a federal housing agency relating to his rental property in New Orleans East. Bishop received a $188,000 loan through the Road Home program to provide the property for rent to low-income tenants.

FOX 8′s Lee Zurik looked into the loan and the property and found that when Bishop claimed people were living in the units, no one was living at the property.

Bishop had asked the court for a lesser sentence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he was susceptible to contracting the virus due to his race and being insulin-dependent diabetic. He also said he was the primary caregiver for his parents who are in poor health and in their eighties.

Judge Greg G. Guidry sentenced Bishop to four years of probation and mandated that he repay the $188,000 loan to the Louisiana Division of Administration’s Office of Community Development, which administered the loan on behalf of the federal government. The judge ordered Bishop to make $400 payments monthly to repay the loan amount to the state.

During the sentencing hearing, held virtually over Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop spoke publicly for the first time about the charge.

“I would just like to say that words can’t express the remorse that I have as it relates to this particular matter,” Bishop told the court.

“My actions don’t reflect the kind of person that I am and I’m just so sorry that it happened. I accept full responsibility for my actions, I wish I had done things differently, but I did not.”

“I want to spend the rest of my life working hard and to let you know that I will continue to work hard like I have these last 52 years to try to regain the trust of you [the judge], my friends and this community.”

Bishop had also been the focus of several FOX 8 Investigations by Lee Zurik that found Bishop took sick leave from SUNO while getting paid to work at the state legislature.

Our investigation found Bishop used 122 sick days at SUNO, while he worked in Baton Rouge, adding to nearly $40,000 of money he may have improperly received. Following the FOX 8 Investigation, Bishop cut taxpayers a $20,000 check to SUNO.

Bishop was first elected to the Louisiana State Senate in October 2015 and was elected in the Louisiana House of Representatives in 2011. He announced in 2019 he will not seek re-election to his seat in the Louisiana State Senate.

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