Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that IRVIN MAYFIELD, age 44,
a resident of New Orleans, and RONALD MARKHAM, age 43, also a resident of New Orleans,
were sentenced today for defrauding the New Orleans Public Library Foundation out of
approximately $1,316,232. The Honorable Jay Zainey sentenced the defendants to eighteen (18)
months imprisonment followed by three (3) years of supervised release. MAYFIELD and
MARKHAM were also sentenced to payment of restitution in the amount of $1,123,032 to the
N.O, Public Library Foundation, payment of a $100 mandatory special assessment fee and 500
hours of community service.
According to court documents, MAYFIELD founded the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
(NOJO) in 2002. MAYFIELD also acted as Artistic Director and featured performer.
MARKHAM was a long-time friend of MAYFIELD and served as NOJO’s President and Chief
Executive Officer. MAYFIELD and MARKHAM both received salaries of $100,000 from NOJO
as well as compensation for compositions and performances through Mayfield Publishing
Company. Throughout its existence, NOJO relied on donations to fund its operations and pay its
expenses. Between December 16, 2008, until May 31, 2010, NOJO relied on grants from the
Edward Wisner Donation, a charitable trust administered by the City of New Orleans. In February
2011, support for NOJO through the Edward Wisner Donation was terminated by the City of New
Orleans, causing great financial distress to NOJO and its ability to pay expenses.
In October 1990, the New Orleans Public Library Foundation (NOPLF) was established to
receive donations generated through private fund-raising efforts; to oversee the prudent investment
of said donations at an acceptable level of risk; and to authorize expenditures judiciously for the
purpose of purchasing books, other information materials, and sponsoring New Orleans Public
Library (NOPL) related programs. For these purposes, NOPLF maintained an investment account.
Until approximately August 2011, the NOPLF used interest earned from its investment account to
fund its mission at the direction of the board of directors. All board members were uncompensated
In August 2006, MAYFIELD became a board member of NOPLF. He later became
Chairman of the board in November 2010. During his time on the NOPLF board, MAYFIELD
also maintained his position with NOJO. In December 2009, MARKHAM became a board
member of NOPLF. He later became Chairman of the board in September 2013 upon
MAYFIELD’s resignation as Chairman of NOPLF. During his time on the NOPLF board,
MARKHAM also maintained his position with NOJO. Between August 23, 2011, and November
30, 2013, MAYFIELD and MARKHAM caused approximately $1,316,232 to be unlawfully
transferred and paid directly from the NOPLF to NOJO and elsewhere.
Beginning in February 2011, and continuing until November 2017, the defendants
committed mail and wire fraud by transferring $1,316,232 from the NOPLF investment account
to NOJO and elsewhere without approval and while misleading the NOPLF and others with regard
to the purpose of the transfers. The defendants sent materially false and misleading correspondence
to NOPLF board members, investment account managers, and auditors regarding the purpose of
the money transfers. They also prepared materially false and misleading records to make money
transfers from NOPLF to NOJO appear legitimate when they were not. Examples of the unlawful
money transfers include:
- The defendants used NOPLF money to support NOJO operating expenses and pay
their NOJO salaries.
- The defendants caused tens of thousands of dollars to be transferred directly into
the personal accounts of MAYFIELD and Mayfield Productions.
- The defendants used NOPLF money to pay for NOJO’s performance at Carnegie
Hall and performance fees to MAYFIELD.
- The defendants used NOPLF money to pay for MAYFIELD’s stays at the Ritz
Carlton and Park Central Hotel as well as the travel expenses of NOJO musicians
for NOJO performances.
- MAYFIELD used NOPLF money to purchase a 24k gold-plated trumpet and spend
money at Saks Fifth Avenue and Harrah’s Casino.
After receiving federal grand jury subpoenas in November 2013, MAYFIELD and
MARKHAM gathered and fraudulently edited NOPLF board minutes by changing line items and
dollar amounts with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the investigation by the FBI.
They also used the fraudulently altered board minutes to convince the NOPLF board that the
transfers were authorized.
Finally, MARKHAM falsely informed NOPLF board members, employees of NOPLF and
NOPLF legal counsel that NOJO did not use NOPLF money to pay the NOJO salaries of
MAYFIELD and MARKHAM and that NOJO was not dependent on NOPLF funding.
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that individuals like Grammy Award winning
musician Irvin Mayfield and his business partner Ronald Markham who steal from non-profit
organizations will be held accountable. Mr. Mayfield and Mr. Markham were driven by their own
personal greed, committing financial crimes to enrich themselves at the expense of the citizens of
New Orleans who utilize resources offered by New Orleans Public Library,” said FBI New
Orleans Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Williams, Jr. “We thank our partners at United States
Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Louisiana, Metropolitan Crime Commission, and the City of
New Orleans Office of Inspector General for their strong partnership and unrelenting pursuit of
“The Office of Inspector General will continue to combine our resources with our federal
partners to prevent fraud, waste and abuse. It is vital that we ensure the integrity of New Orleans
City Government while we hold public officials accountable for their actions”.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Orleans
Office of the Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys G. Dall Kammer, Theodore Carter, and
Brandon Long are in charge of the prosecution.