Two high-level administrators with Louisiana State University at Eunice pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday for stealing close to $160,000 in federal grant funds intended for Upward Bound and Student Services projects.
According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finely’s office, the theft involved LSU-E Office of Academic Affairs Director Dr. Marvette J. Thomas and Carra Sergeant, assistant director of academic affairs. Appearing in federal court Thursday, Thomas, 60, of Grambling, and Sergeant, 60, of Ragley, pleaded guilty to theft of government funds before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote.
According to Finley’s office, the scheme transpired between Sept. 2008 and Feb. 2012, during which time, they, along with additional co-workers under their watch, illegally spent more than $159,000 on items such as “clothes, shoes, handbags, cosmetics, jewelry, children’s clothing, personal electronic devices, cookware, tools, toys, recreational vehicle parts, pet supplies, household items, outdoor items, exercise equipment, religious books and gifts.”
“These federal programs exist so that individuals can pursue and make their dream of a higher education a reality,” says U.S. Department of Education/Office of Inspector General special agent Neil E. Sanchez in Thursday’s release. “That’s why OIG special agents will continue to aggressively pursue those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of our nation’s students.”
Estimates by LSU auditors, FBI agents and officials with the U.S. Department of Education and Office of Inspector General, show $68,464 of the stolen federal money was spent by Thomas, $74,653 by Sergeant, and the remaining $16,050 by unnamed co-workers. According to Thursday’s press release, Thomas and Sergeant did attempt covering their tracks by “altering receipts and submitting false records.”
“The defendants in this case were entrusted with managing funds that were supposed to benefit students seeking to expand their education,” Finley stated in Thursday's release. “They now potentially face years in jail, fines and other penalties for their actions. We will continue to pursue cases where taxpayer money is used for personal benefit.”
At their sentencing, set for Dec. 12, Thomas and Sergeant will face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
While much of the talk was about whether New Orleans could win a big game — or any game, for that matter — on the road, the conversation in the Saints' locker room was about something completely different.
State health officials told thousands of doctors planning to attend a tropical diseases meeting this weekend in New Orleans to stay away if they have been to certain African countries or have had contact with an Ebola patient in the last 21 days.
Republicans are calling on Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu to apologize after she suggested Thursday that President Barack Obama's deep unpopularity in the South is partly tied to race.
Compared to the rest of the country, Lafayette has it pretty good when it comes to the cost and speed of our Internet.
Hello Kitty turns 40; police ambush suspect caught; Knicks surprise Cavs and more national and international news for Friday, October 31, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
Homecoming outfits with ease
Acadian style home in St. Martinville or traditional Breaux Bridge home
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."
A state district judge said he will rule Friday on a preliminary injunction to keep some charter schools from receiving $60 million through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
Saints fans were to gather, make merry, eat/drink compliments of a new Downtown group and watch the Saints beat Carolina and claim 1st place in the NFC South. But...
Three bedroom traditional or four bedroom traditional in Lafayette
Our fav dress for all seasons
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram doesn't see his dramatic spike in production as any sort of validation.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing off one last time with her two main Republican challengers before next week's election.
Shoppers familiar with Louisiana-based Rouses Market might be surprised when they walk into the new third location set to open at the Corner of Johnston Street and Duhon Road south the Acadiana Mall on Wednesday.