The 15th Judicial District Attorney has charged four ex-employees of Louisiana State University Eunice with several counts of theft and forgery. The employees were charged with federal crimes after the school alleged that the four had gained illegally from two of the school's federal grants.
One of the accused was the Director of Academic Assistance Programs when the theft and fraud was done. According to the criminal complaint filed by LSU Eunice, an official of the school noticed some discrepancies in invoices submitted by the Academic Assistance Program. The school then informed local and state auditors and, because federal grants were involved, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Attorney General's Office - Western District of Louisiana about the discrepancies.
Consecutively, an investigation was initiated that revealed that all four were involved in the alleged theft and forgery, which was completed by submitting the false invoices and taking the money for personal gain. The amount of money allegedly stolen by them has not being released. Thereafter, a criminal complaint was filed against the four suspects with the District Attorney's office.
Though the charges have been filed, no formal date for the hearing of the case has been given yet. However, the District Attorney said that an arraignment will likely take place within 45 days.
At that arraignment and hearings that follow, the suspects will have every chance of proving the District Attorney's case wrong. Not everyone who is accused of a crime is guilty, but it always takes a strong criminal defense to fight federal charges.
Therefore, it is essential to act quickly in order to adequately prepare a criminal defense before going to trial. Suspects should explore legal options that could help them develop strategies and procedural methods that could be advantageous in dismissing the case, reducing the charges or getting a favorable plea deal.
Source: The Eunice News, "DA says theft, forgery charges pending against former LSU Eunice department head, three others," Todd C. Elliot, Dec. 13, 2012