Florida Parishes Juvie Center Update – 5/30/11

Bickford pleads not guilty; Attorney general prosecuting mother, son

Brenda Bickford, former executive secretary for the 21st Judicial District Attorney’s office and recording secretary for the Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice Commission, pleaded not guilty Thursday to allegedly embezzling over $1 million from the commission from 2007 to 2011.

Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell said after the arraignment that he has not heard whether the 21st Judicial District judges plan to recuse themselves from hearing the case. Caldwell said he would not be surprised if that matter did not eventually come up, but he has as yet not had a discussion with them on the matter.

Should all district judges recuse themselves, an ad hoc judge would be appointed to hear the case, he said.

Asked if there may be accomplices in connection with the alleged embezzlement, Caldwell said the investigation is ongoing. The attorney general’s office wants to determine how much money was taken, where it went and if any can be recovered.

Bickford, 60, of 42107 Perkins Nickens Road, Hammond, was arrested March 21 and bonded out of parish jail the same day on $70,000 bond.

The affidavit issued by the attorney general after her arrest states that Bickford served as recording secretary of the Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice Commission for 16 years. The checks she allegedly forged against the commission account were deposited to her bank account.

The alleged scheme was uncovered when, at the Jan. 2 quarterly meeting of the commission’s board of directors, board attorney John Feduccia of Hammond noticed that the item “legal fees” on the annual audit by the accounting firm of Hannis T. Bourgeois appeared to be unusually large. The audit was for the period of July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010.

One Response to “Florida Parishes Juvie Center Update – 5/30/11”

  1. Dan Says:

    I believe it is quite clear to anyone reading this article that the attorney’s office did not have a decent time management system in place. A modern one make it much easier to prevent payroll fraud of this type from becoming an issue.

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