Former Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Hebert, 48, pled guilty today to one civil rights violation, five bank fraud violations and one aggravated identity theft violation, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite Jr. for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Anderson of the FBI New Orleans Field Office and Sheriff Newell Normand from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
According to the plea agreement and other documents, Hebert engaged in a scheme to defraud J.P. Morgan Chase Bank (Chase Bank) from Aug. 2, 2007 through Nov. 21, 2007. The scheme began when Hebert, in his capacity as a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy, responded to an automobile accident involving Albert Bloch and stole Bloch’s VISA debit card, as well as other items. While Bloch was hospitalized following the accident, Hebert used that debit card to make unauthorized purchases of merchandise, including two Global Positioning System units, and to withdraw funds from Bloch’s Chase Bank account via Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). After Chase Bank cancelled the debit card due to Bloch filing a dispute with the bank, Hebert continued his scheme to defraud by negotiating and attempting to negotiate forged checks drawn from Bloch’s account. Hebert then obtained the replacement debit card sent to Bloch and used that card to make further unauthorized transactions at Chase Bank ATMs. Bloch has not been seen since 2007.
By pleading guilty, Hebert admitted that he violated Bloch’s civil rights when he responded in his official capacity to Bloch’s automobile accident and unreasonably seized and converted Bloch’s property, including funds that Bloch had on deposit with Chase Bank. Hebert also admitted that on at least five occasions he executed his bank fraud scheme against Chase Bank by unlawfully using Bloch’s original ATM card, replacement ATM card and Chase Bank checks. In addition, Hebert admitted that on at least one occasion he used Bloch’s driver’s license number and social security number in order to execute his bank fraud scheme and thereby committed aggravated identity theft.
“When the defendant officer responded to an automobile accident and stole the victim’s credit cards and used them to commit fraud, he violated not only the law, but the core law enforcement values of trust and respect for civil rights,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to work with our partners in the U.S. Attorney Offices and FBI to ensure that civil rights violations are identified and where appropriate prosecuted.”
“Mark Hebert’s guilty plea occurred as a result of the successful collaboration of local and state law enforcement agencies in our continued fight to eradicate corruption in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners are delivering the same message in a unified voice: we will not tolerate abuse of power and official position. If you violate the public trust in Southeast Louisiana, you will be held accountable.”
“In as much as I am very disappointed in the behavior of former JPSO officer Mark Hebert as outlined in his guilty plea today, I am extremely proud of the persistence of my criminal investigators and the efforts of the U. S. Attorney's Office in this investigation,” stated Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand. “My office will not tolerate any form of corruption.”
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled before the Honorable Jane Triche-Milazzo on March 24, 2014. For each of the five counts of bank fraud, Hebert faces a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. For the count of aggravated identity theft, Hebert faces a maximum statutory sentence of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. For the count charging a civil rights violation, Hebert faces a maximum statutory penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The investigation of this matter was conducted by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective’s Bureau and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Parker, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Sanders and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Shan Patel.