A former Louisiana official has been charged with theft, money laundering and other crimes after federal prosecutors said he overbilled the City of New Orleans by more than $680,000 and used public funds for personal expenses. According to the indictment, the overbilling took place when the man served as bookkeeper for New Orleans Traffic Court between the years 2009 and 2011.
Prosecutors said that a federal investigation showed the man used illegal means to conceal his overbilling and avoid reporting requirements. They also allege that he took thousands of dollars from the court to put a down payment on a car and buy chips at a New Orleans casino.
Charges involving accounting fraud and other white collar crimes can lead to unusually complicated cases. Prosecutors allege that the suspects committed crimes when they engaged in elaborate schemes to conceal their financial dealings, and then the prosecutors expect a court with no particular training in accounting to understand what happened, according to the prosecutors' own theory. For the defendants to defend themselves in these cases, they have to be even better than the prosecutors at explaining principles of accounting or other business practices. They have to show that the prosecutors' interpretation of what happened is wrong.
To build a strong defense, Louisiana residents accused of white collar crimes need help from legal professionals who have experience with this area of the law. A qualified, well-experienced attorney can help find holes in the prosecution's case and tell the defendant's side of the story.
Source: WAFB-TV, "Ex-N.O. court bookkeeper charged with theft," Nov. 2, 2013