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Louisiana man faces 81 charges in alleged fraud against parish

Fraud, money-laundering and other crimes that fall under the umbrella of the loose term "white collar crimes" lead to extraordinarily complicated legal proceedings. By the nature of the work, the evidence in these cases is difficult for untrained juries to interpret and the difference between what is legal and what is criminal can be hard for many people to detect.

In one complicated case, a Louisiana man now faces 81 charges amid allegations that he fraudulently billed Livingston Parish for cleanup work after Hurricane Gustav. The charges include 73 counts involving allegedly false public records and eight counts of theft.

The charges stem from work the man and his firm were hired to do in 2009 after the previous year's storm. The man billed the parish about $2 million for work dealing with wetlands permits and mitigation issues, but his contract was cancelled in 2011 after officials expressed doubts about the invoices he submitted. Some accused him of billing the parish for time that he actually spent playing golf or engaging in family activities.

In his defense, the man has argued that the club where he played golf wrote down his tee times incorrectly. He has also said that he billed the parish for 40 hours of work a week, as agreed, but actually worked more than that.

Because the line between what is legal and what is criminal can be so thin in white collar crime cases, these cases require very careful examination of the evidence. A Louisiana attorney with experience defending against white collar crime charges can find ways to help interpret and explain the evidence in a manner that benefits the defendant. These charges can be very serious, and it's important to have the help of skilled legal professionals.

Source: The Advocate, "Livingston man charged with false billing in Gustav work," Robert Stewart, Dec. 6, 2013

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