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.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 1,961 from the previous week's total of 2,237. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,190 claims.
Lafayette’s Ruffino’s on the River has taken its place among our many establishments worthy of note and, in this case, The James Beard Foundation.
If you didn’t know Alison, Sheriff Mike Neustrom’s 42-year-old daughter who died Wednesday after battling cancer for a year, you missed out on something really special.
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Batter up for a pre-Mardi Gras deep fry fête at Jo Vidrine’s Freetown pad in this sixth episode of filmmaker Stephen Meaux's culinary series.
Tyson Dupuis accumulated three OWI arrests in less than 10 years, with his most recent resulting in the death of an 18-year-old Crowley woman in 2011, yet his punishment would only amount to a year in prison.
Hugh Freeze has firsthand knowledge of the Sun Belt Conference, having coached at Arkansas State in 2011 before moving on to Mississippi.
A federal grand jury has charged a 56-year-old Lafayette man with income tax fraud for allegedly failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.
Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide; escaped school shooter caught; body odor test resisted and more national and international news for Friday, September 12, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Hurry, rush to Jersey’s Daiquiris Sports Bar in Broussard for a cold one because at noon tomorrow its license is suspended for two months by the state!
The LPSB voted 6-3 to accept charges against Superintendent Pat Cooper and pave the way for his upcoming termination hearing.
The timing of U.S. District Judge Richard Haik's semi-retirement paves the way for a Dem, and perhaps the first African American, to serve the Western District.
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The feds say Donald Domingues reported $259,725 as income and paid $64,909 in taxes but he allegedly failed to mention a $351,000 sales commission, which would have bumped his income up to just over $610,000 and his tax liability to $186,000.
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Year-to-date sales are outpacing 2013 by 4.7 percent.
After months of clamoring for Superintendent Pat Cooper’s job, the LPSB will get its chance this afternoon to get the ball rolling with a special meeting at 2:30 p.m.
Voters trying to sift through the details of 14 constitutional amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot have a guide they can consult.
Delcambre now has a boat launch that can handle four boats at a time and a new pavilion for the seafood and farmer's market.
Drew Brees sees plenty to like about the way New Orleans' offense is shaping up, even if it's not yet reflected in the win column.
About a week after mistakenly using a Twitter hashtag for the Cincinnati Bengals to wish the New Orleans Saints good luck, the Cassidy camp refers to the EPA as the “Energy Protection Agency.”
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Lawmakers launched their latest effort Wednesday to try to chip away at a $12 billion backlog of road and bridge repair and improvement work across Louisiana, seeking ideas to raise new transportation dollars in an anti-tax environment.
The congressman has rejected two other debates in which Landrieu had agreed to participate.