ORLEANS PARISH SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT AND DIVERSITY CONTRACTING DIRECTOR CONVICTED FOR BRIBERY SCHEME
The MCC was acknowledged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for our referral to the FBI in the corruption convictions of two former Orleans Parish School Board officials. OPSB President Ira Thomas and OPSB Diversity Contracting Director Armer Bright pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud relating to a contractor receiving a janitorial services contract in exchange for money disguised as a campaign contribution. OPSB President Thomas was sentenced to one year and a day imprisonment and a ordered to pay a $4,000 fine. OPSB Diversity Contracting Director Armer Bright was also sentenced to one year and a day imprisonment.
US Attorney’s Press Release – Ira Thomas – May 13, 2015
US Attorney’s Press Release – Ira Thomas Sentencing – September 30, 2015
US Attorney’s Press Release – Armer Bright Sentencing – November 4, 2015
MCC REFERRAL RESULTS IN INDICTMENT OF FORMER ST. TAMMANY PARISH DA’S OFFICE INVESTIGATOR
The MCC’s referral to the State Inspector General and Louisiana Attorney General resulted in former St. Tammany District Attorney’s Office Chief Investigator Louis Dabdoub’s indictment for felony false swearing on an arrest warrant.
“Former Walter Reed investigator indicted” November 10, 2015; WWLTV
St. Tammany grand jury charges former district attorney investigator with making false statements” November 10, 2015; The New Orleans Advocate
MCC REQUESTS AG PROBE INTO ST. CHARLES DA’S HANDLING OF SEX CASE
The MCC requested the Louisiana Attorney General probe the St. Charles District Attorney’s handling of the sex case involving Destrehan High School teacher Shelley Dufresne. We received a tip in early May that there was a “secret” court event that took place after her well-publicized felony guilty plea on April 9th. The MCC obtained court records and verified that Ms. Dufresne was recharged and resentenced on April 10th in a closed court hearing in the judicial chambers of her father, by a judge from New Iberia who was presiding over the phone. This occurred because she originally plead guilty to a felony which required her to register as a sex offender, but on April 10th she was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor that did not require registration. After the MCC publicly exposed this situation, Ms. Dufresne plead guilty to a felony obscenity charge on September 1, 2015.
PRESS RELEASE – MCC Requests Criminal Investigation Into St. Charles Parish District Attorney (May 21, 2015)
St. Charles DA Joel Chaisson (State v Shelley Dufresne prosecution) – May 20, 2015
Bill of Information – November 24, 2014
Court records – April 9, 2015
Court records – April 10, 2015
Probation hearing – May 14, 2015
JEFFERSON PARISH IG’S REPORT CRITICIZES THE OVERPAYMENT OF CONSTABLES AND JUSTICES OF THE PEACE BY JEFFERSON PARISH
In March of 2015, the Jefferson Parish Inspector General’s Office released a report criticizing the parish’s overpayment of Constables and Justices of the Peace based on a complaint by the MCC. The IG’s Office revealed that the parish spends over $500,000 per year more than is required by law in support of Constables and Justices of the Peace offices. Constables and Justices of the Peace can be very lucrative positions paying these officials more than $200,000 per year because they are allowed to keep the fines and fees that they collect. The IG’s Office also determined that the parish pays unnecessary stipends in support of their offices and provides many with free office space.
Jefferson Parish IG – Funding of Constables and Justices of the Peace – March 11, 2015
MCC REFERRAL RESULTS IN THE CONVICTION OF HARVEY VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT DEPUTY CHIEF
The MCC’s investigation of the Harvey Volunteer Fire Department previously exposed alleged misuse of public funds by members of the department. In 2015, our referral resulted in Harvey Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Michael Reason being found guilty at trial of felony filing false public records.
“Volunteer JP firefighters under investigation for lavish spending” February 1, 2012; WWLTV
“Theft charges upheld for Harvey fire chief deputy chief” October 27, 2014; The Times Picayune
ANOTHER GUILTY PLEA RELATING TO A BAIL BOND SCHEME IN ORLEANS PARISH
An MCC referral resulted in the 2014 indictment of four individuals for conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice, as well as the guilty pleas for conspiracy to commit mail fraud by a former Orleans Parish Criminal District Court employee and a bail bondswoman. On January 14, 2015, bail bondswoman Nicole Carrie pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for her in the bail bond scheme. Her sentence is pending. US Attorney’s Office Press Release – Nicole Carrie – January 14, 2015