Archive for the ‘Payroll Fraud’ Category

Edmonson’s Golden Parachute

03/28/2017

Edmonson files for over $128K in retirement benefits

Written by: Tom Wright, Investigative Producer
Contributor: Lee Zurik, Chief Investigative Reporter

New Orleans (WVUE) The former head of Louisiana State Police will draw more than $128,000 a year in retirement benefits, according to a statement from the State Police Retirement System.

LSP Col. Mike Edmonson filed paperwork to begin receiving that income, following his retirement announcement on March 15. That retirement followed a Lee Zurik investigation into revelations about travel expenses incurred when Edmonson invited several other LSP employees to a police conference and award ceremony in San Diego late last year. The total cost came to about $70,000.

The expenses came under both news media and state scrutiny; Edmonson himself pledged an internal probe, Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered an audit by the Division of Administration, and U.S. Senator John Kennedy called for Edmonson’s resignation and a legislative audit.

School Money Missing in Ouachita

03/20/2017

From the Louisiana Legislative Auditor

Nearly $22,000 Missing from a Ouachita Parish Middle School’s Bank Account

An examination of West Ridge Middle School’s (WRMS) records showed that nearly $22,000 that should have been deposited into the school’s student activity bank account could not be accounted for, the Legislative Auditor said in a report released today.

The examination was conducted in response to a request from the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Auditors found that, between October 2013 and October 2014, $11,600 collected from eighth-grade honor students for a trip to Walt Disney World was not deposited into the school’s student activity bank account. WRMS teacher and trip sponsor Jodie Dean was responsible for collecting the money.

In addition, auditors found that student activity payments totaling $10,301 were received but not deposited into the student activity fund bank account between May 2014 and May 2015. Stacey Rogers, the WRMS bookkeeper at the time, was responsible for receiving, recording, processing, and/or depositing all of the missing funds. In some cases, records show the bookkeeper gave a receipt to a faculty sponsor for a greater amount than the receipt in the school’s records.

Both women have denied taking any of the missing money.

See here the complete report.

WAFB-TV Baton Rouge: Edmonson Quits

03/15/2017

La. State Police superintendent steps down
By Robb Hays, News Director

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) –

One of Louisiana’s most powerful men is stepping down from his post.

Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police – his agency embroiled in a luxury travel and overtime scandal – will announce his retirement Wednesday, sources say.

Legislative Auditor Requested for LSP Travel Budgets

03/13/2017

Louisiana State Police Update

03/13/2017

Mike Edmonson’s job as head of Louisiana State Police in limbo amid mounting controversy

BY JIM MUSTIAN | jmustian@theadvocate.com

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration on Monday sought to tamp down widespread speculation that a change in leadership is on the horizon at the Louisiana State Police, an agency that has been plunged into deepening turmoil in recent weeks.

But at the same time, officials aren’t exactly insisting that Col. Mike Edmonson, the longtime State Police superintendent, is secure at the agency’s helm, describing the uncertainty as a major distraction.

Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo confirmed the governor met with Edmonson on Monday but described the meeting as regularly scheduled. The tête-à-tête was said to be the latest of several private conversations the two have had in recent days in the wake of multiple controversies.

“Some people may be getting ahead of themselves,” Carbo said when asked whether Edwards intends to replace Edmonson. “He has not asked for his resignation.”

Ascension Parish President Indicted

03/10/2017

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa, Gonzales businessman indicted in bribery scandal

BY DAVID J. MITCHELL | dmitchell@theadvocate.com

GONZALES — Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa and Gonzales businessman Olin Berthelot were indicted Friday in an attempted bribery scheme in which they are accused of trying to entice a candidate to drop out of an election last fall.

The 11-person grand jury of eight men and three women was unanimous in its findings The grand jury heard from four witnesses Friday, including Gonzales City Councilman Neal Bourque, and two others last month.

Matassa and Berthelot were each indicted on one count of violating Louisiana law by offering something of value to get a candidate to withdraw from an election.

Lewis Unglesby, Matassa’s attorney, said his client already turned himself in and posted bail Friday afternoon. Steven Moore, defense attorney for Berthelot, said his client would be doing the same.

If convicted, Matassa and Berthelot each face up to two years in state prison, with or without hard time, or a $2,000 fine.

Louisiana State Police Update

03/10/2017

Sources: Subpoenas served as probe of Louisiana State Troopers Association moves forward

BY JIM MUSTIAN AND KATIE MOORE | jmustian@theadvocate.com kmoore@wwltv.com

Federal authorities have ramped up an investigation into the Louisiana State Troopers Association, delivering a series of grand jury subpoenas this week to the nonprofit organization’s board of directors, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Col. Mike Edmonson, the State Police superintendent, said Thursday that the FBI has notified him “that they would be interviewing some of our guys” regarding the association, a group of current and retired troopers that has drawn mounting scrutiny — and a State Ethics Board fine — in light of its unlawful political contributions.

Maj. Doug Cain, a State Police spokesman, noted that the troopers association is “independent of the department” and that the State Police, “as an agency, has not been served with any subpoenas regarding our operations.”

But sources familiar with the inquiry said more than a dozen people, including some high-ranking State Police officials, received subpoenas this week compelling them to testify before a federal grand jury.

“They’re stirred up right now,” one source said, referring to the State Police.

Roller Sentenced to Jail, Must pay Restitution

02/27/2017

Former Jackson Parish Ward Four Fire Protection District Chief Curtis Roller was two weeks ago sentenced to a two year jail sentence, and will have to make restitution of over $400 thousand, according to a press release from the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Shreveport. Roller had pled guilty last May.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 17, 2017

Jonesboro man sentenced to 24 months in prison for FEMA fraud

SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a Jonesboro man was sentenced Monday to 24 months in prison for obtaining FEMA grants for a fire department so that he could then sell his company’s products to it.

Curtis Roller, 60, of Jonesboro, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. on one count of wire fraud after illegally obtaining Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants and making false statements on worker compensation forms. He also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $403,355 restitution. According the guilty plea, Roller submitted false information on a grant application on May 9, 2009 to FEMA so that the Jackson Parish Ward 3 Fire Protection District was eligible to receive federal funds, which could be used to purchase equipment from his company, Louisiana Firefighting Services. It is against FEMA rules and policies for a grant writer to financially benefit from money awarded.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Postal Service-Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell prosecuted the case.

Here are some pertinent documents:

Judgement

Plea Agreement – May, 2016

Court Minutes – Sentencing

Agreed Upon Factual Basis

Roller was originally indicted in 2010, and then in 2013, a superseding indictment was returned.

Grand Jury Indictment

Representing Roller were Shreveport attorneys Ansel Stroud III, and Nicole Buckle. He is required to report on 3/28/17.

Kennedy Says Edmonson Should Quit

02/25/2017

Zurik: Kennedy calls for State Police head’s resignation

Written by: Lee Zurik, Chief Investigative Reporter
Contributor: Tom Wright, Investigative Producer

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) –

U.S. Senator John Kennedy says the superintendent of State Police needs to resign. The former state treasurer says he doubts the investigations into State Police will be a serious one.

This follows our investigation that detailed a pricey conference trip that included a stay in the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas for four troopers.

“I like the superintendent,” Kennedy tells FOX 8. “But he has demonstrated that he is intent on being the tallest hog at the trough. And this is all taxpayer money.”

Edmonson brought 17 state employees to San Diego – and some of them brought their spouses or girlfriends. The trip included a conference and an awards ceremony where the International Chiefs of Police gave Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson a lifetime achievement award. When you calculate salaries, overtime, hotel, flights and meals, the trip cost taxpayers about $70,000.

“He took 17 of his top people and said, y’all come at taxpayers’ expense to San Diego to watch me get an award,” Kennedy says, “and listen, let’s go spend $70,000 on a nice little vacation here, when the state’s running deficits. But this wasn’t a conference to learn something. This was 17 of his friends from State Police, all of whom, the big muckety-mucks making the hundred grand a year-plus, who went out there and had a little vacation to watch him get an award.”

State Police Road Trip Update

02/21/2017

Zurik: Edmonson may have signed off on troopers’ Vegas stop

Written by: Lee Zurik, Chief Investigative Reporter
Contributor: Tom Wright, Investigative Producer

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But for four employees of Louisiana State Police, the trip from Point A to Point B comes with a 350-mile detour, via Sin City.

Now signatures on internal documents, approving the travel on your dime, may have serious implications for the public staff involved.

In October 2016, during the state’s budget crunch, LSP sent 17 people to a four-day conference in San Diego for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. When you calculate salaries, overtime, meals, flights and hotels, the total cost comes to around $70,000.

While the Louisiana State Police Superintendent Michael Edmonson claims he didn’t know about the trip until last week, it appears he signed off on at least one expense report in late December – essentially approving one employee’s side trip through the Grand Canyon and Vegas, paid for with your money.