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November 2018 Archives

Individuals can bring qui tam actions

Many Louisiana companies work with the federal government, and are paid by the government for their goods and services. If the company involved submits a false claim to the government, it may constitute fraud or another actionable crime. Any individual who has information about such false claims may file a qui tam action. If the government prevails, the person who brought the action may be entitled to a percentage of the funds recovered.

Louisiana investment broker sentenced to 14 years in prison

A Louisiana investment advisor was sentenced to 14 years in a federal prison on Nov. 13 for stealing as much as $1.5 million dollars from his clients. The 71-year-old Mandeville resident was also ordered to forfeit $1.1 million and pay his investors back another $1.1 million. Should the man live long enough to complete his sentence, he will be required to serve three years of supervised release. Reports indicate that the man was sentenced as part of a plea agreement he entered into with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana.

Darker streets could put pedestrians in danger

Daylight saving time ended in Louisiana and most other parts of the United States on Nov. 4. This means that drivers must contend with a lack of sunlight and glare from streetlights during their evening commutes. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 75 percent of traffic deaths occur after the sun goes down. In Los Angeles, the number of pedestrian deaths increased to 137 in 2017 from 74 in 2015.

Fire chief’s wife arrested after allegedly embezzling $225,000

Melissa Guitreau, the wife of the French Settlement fire chief, was arrested after allegedly confessing to her husband that she embezzled money from the fire department. Her husband, Chief Alan Guitreau, turned her in after her confession. She was booked on counts of theft, forgery and malfeasance in office.

Two convicted in Medicaid fraud investigation

Two people in Louisiana were convicted on welfare charges after being accused of running a scheme that cost the state over $1 million in unearned benefits. A 39-year-old woman filed a guilty plea on one count of felony theft. While she only took responsibility for one criminal charge, she was also ordered to repay $1,059,709.76 in restitution for the money obtained through the fraud as well as $300,000 in civil financial penalties. She was also ordered to obtain a new home mortgage in order to repay the state of Louisiana for Medicaid funds that she had used to pay the original mortgage.

More states look at tackling distracted driving

According to TrueMotion, a company that works with insurance companies to monitor the behavior of drivers, around 18 percent of Louisiana motorists use their phones for apps and texting while behind the wheel. This is on the higher end for U.S. states. Like most other states, Louisiana prohibits texting while driving.