A Louisiana man was recently sentenced to three years of probation, fined $5,000 and ordered to pay a share of a $160,000 settlement as part of a federal investigation into corruption in Jefferson Parish. The man pleaded guilty last year to charges of fraud and theft. He could have been sentenced to as many as six months in prison.
The man once served as top aide to Aaron Broussard, the former president of Jefferson Parish, who was convicted of conspiracy and theft as a result of the investigation. Prosecutors said Broussard conspired to give a high-paying job to his now ex-wife and to pay her even though she didn't actually do any work. He was sentenced earlier this year to 46 months in prison.
The former aide's attorney said that the lack of prison time for his client was fair, noting that the man had a long record of public service, marred at the end of his career by some bad choices. The parish president's ex-wife and a former parish attorney also pleaded guilty to related charges and were sentenced to periods of probation.
Cases of alleged fraud can be very difficult to investigate. Evidence may be hard to obtain, or hard to interpret, and it can be hard to know whether a defendant intended to deceive others or merely made an honest mistake. Still, government prosecutors have great resources to pour into investigations, and they can be very effective in winning convictions.
Those who face charges of fraud, embezzlement or other white collar crimes deserve a defense. With the right help, they can begin working on a defense strategy that can help them minimize or avoid the damage to their personal and professional lives that come with a conviction on these charges.
Source: The Advocate, "Former Jefferson Parish official gets probation," Kevin McGill, April 29, 2013