FORMER JEFFERSON PARISH COUNCILMAN, CHRIS ROBERTS, CHARGED WITH TAX EVASION AND WIRE FRAUD
On May 9, 2019, former Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts was indicted by a federal grand jury with 29 counts of wire fraud and tax evasion. Roberts is currently awaiting trial on these counts. In a press release following the indictment, the US Attorney’s Office recognized the Metropolitan Crime Commission for aiding the government in this case.
FORMER FIRE MARSHAL INSPECTOR, NUNZIO MARCHIAFAVA FOUND GUILTY OF ATTEMPTED FILING OF FALSE RECORDS
After a deadly fire in Grand Isle, the MCC received a tip that a concerned citizen had complained to the State Fire Marshal’s Office about the Grand Isle apartment complex being a fire hazard. The complaint was assigned to Nunzio Marchiafava, an inspector in the New Orleans division of State Fire Marshal’s Office. He initially went out to the Grand Isle complex on April 2, 2012, but was unable to enter the building to conduct an inspection, and he left stating that he would return the following month. On September 26, 2012, the building caught fire killing two occupants. In reaction to the deadly fire, the inspector sent an email report indicating that he conducted a follow-up inspection in May of 2012 and found no fire hazards. The MCC referred the matter to the Louisiana Inspector General who examined mileage records and cellular phone records. The records indicated that the inspector was in New Orleans for the entire day he claimed to have conducted the follow-up inspection. As a result, Marchiafava was arrested and subsequently charged by the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office with malfeasance in office and filing false public records. On April 12, 2019, a judge found Marchiafava guilty of attempted filing of false public records. He was sentenced to probation.
MCC INVESTIGATION YIELDS CONVICTIONS OF JEFFERSON PARISH 2ND JUSTICE COURT JUSTICE OF THE PEACE AND CONSTABLE
Since 2011, the Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC) has made referrals and provided information to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office and law enforcement about misconduct within the 2nd Justice Court of Jefferson Parish. The Legislative Auditor’s Office launched an investigative audit as a result of the MCC’s referral letter documenting allegations of unethical and criminal activity in the 2nd Justice Court. After an extended legal battle blocking the release of the report was resolved, the Legislative Auditor’s Office published their audit report documenting unethical activities as well as violations of state and federal laws. Since the MCC filed their complaint, Justice of the Peace Patrick DeJean has been the subject of a Judiciary Commission investigation and temporarily disqualified from performing his duties by the Louisiana Supreme Court. Constable Antoine “Tony” Thomassie was not re-elected to his position and was found in violation of state ethics laws. In April of 2018, former Constable Thomassie plead guilty to a felony malfeasance in office charge in state court.
Thomassie’s judicial counterpart, Justice of the Peace DeJean, went to trial in federal court in February of 2019. During the trial, the US Attorney’s Office presented evidence that DeJean personally benefited from his office by diverting money from the court to his bank account, as well as making false statements to get a bank loan in the name of the court that would be used on himself. He was found guilty of 13 counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements. DeJean is awaiting sentencing. The Metropolitan Crime Commission was acknowledged the US Attorney’s Office for our assistance with this case.
MCC ACKNOWLEDGED FOR ASSISTANCE IN THE INVESTIGATION OF ST. TAMMANY PARISH WORK RELEASE PROGRAM BRIBERY AND KICKBACK SCHEME
In November of 2018, two former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputies, David Hanson and Clifford “Skip” Keen, were charged in a one-count bill of information with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and soliciting a bribe related to a contract for St. Tammany Workforce Solutions, LLC, a private work release program. Hanson and Keen pled guilty on February 27, 2019 for their role in a kickback and bribery scheme involving a public official. Hanson and Keen are currently awaiting sentencing.