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Louisiana state agency official charged with federal fraud

Louisiana residents who are accused of white collar crimes, such as fraud, embezzlement and insider trading, could find their professional lives in serious jeopardy. These crimes typically occur in the workplace, and therefore employers take the allegations very seriously. Many of the accused are suspended from work or lose their jobs long before they have had a chance to defend themselves in court. A conviction on these charges can damage a person's career long after any jail time has been served or fines have been paid.

An official at Louisiana's Department of Children and Family Services was placed on leave from his job recently amid allegations that he took money intended for social programs and used it for his own personal use. According to prosecutors, the 34-year-old man paid for iPads, vacuum cleaners, hotel rooms and gasoline with the department's money over a period of four years.

Because the department received more than $1 billion in federal funds, the man is charged with federal program fraud. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Defending against allegations of federal fraud is no easy task. Prosecutors in these cases have all types of evidence and resources a federal investigation can provide. To successfully defend against these charges, the defendants need to be equally sophisticated.

Despite everything stacked against a person accused of white collar crimes, everyone deserves a defense. One of the cornerstones of our justice system is the concept that everyone must be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Source: The Advocate, "Auditing, compliance director charged with federal crime," April 10, 2014

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