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 U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
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Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
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Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Odell Beckham on the catch; chaos in Ferguson; snowstorm set to snarl travel and more national and international news for Tuesday, November 25, 2014.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
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Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Saints Street cottage or River Ranch condo
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on.
"I want to take an opportunity to thank the people of Lafayette for allowing me to serve you for the last three years as your school superintendent."
After Thanksgiving, the small town of Moreauville plans to confiscate and kill all rottweilers and pitbulls, including a service dog.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.