FORMER NEW ORLEANS AVIATION DIRECTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
SEAN HUNTER, 44, of New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty in federal court today before U. S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval to Count 5 of the Superseding Indictment charging obstruction of justice, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to documents filed in federal court, on September 27, 2005, HUNTER’S co-defendant, Shauna Crowden Hunter contacted the AAA insurance company and falsely claimed that her 2005 BMW 525i, with a retail value of $53,377.27, was completely destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Court documents also state that Shauna Crowden Hunter falsely completed and mailed to the AAA company a notarized odometer statement that resulted in AAA issuing checks totaling over $55,000.00. According to the factual basis, SEAN HUNTER and Shauna Crowden Hunter made multiple misrepresentations to the AAA insurance company, and others, to conceal their continued use of the BMW.
Further according to court documents, SEAN HUNTER used his position as the Director of Aviation for the Louis Armstrong International Airport to help conceal the illegal nature of the BMW and directed a subordinate employee at the airport to issue HUNTER a brake tag that he and his wife placed on the BMW.
According to court documents, in October, 2008, a traffic camera captured the BMW running a red light at the intersection of South Carrollton Avenue and Palmetto Street in New Orleans. The Carrollton Avenue ticket as well as a second red light ticket that was issued 12 days later were both mailed to the AAA insurance company. Approximately six months later, a New Orleans Police Detective discovered the BMW in a parking garage at the airport. With the assistance of the FBI, the NOPD determined that SEAN HUNTER and Shauna Crowden Hunter made a series of misrepresentations in an effort to conceal the true location of the BMW from insurance officials and law enforcement. SEAN HUNTER admitted today that he attempted to influence a federal witness’ testimony in an effort to conceal from law enforcement and insurance officials the defendant’s continued use of the BMW. SEAN HUNTER admitted today that he attempted to influence a federal witness’ testimony in an effort to conceal from law enforcement and insurance officials the defendant’s continued use of the BMW.
HUNTER faces a maximum of ten (10) years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000.00 and three (3) years supervised release. Today’s plea agreement will also require SEAN HUNTER to cooperate with federal authorities and provide truth testimony. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 11, 2011 at 9:00 A.M.
In addition, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, indicted HUNTER’S co-defendant Shauna Crowden Hunter with two counts of Mail Fraud in relation to her use of the mails, while living in Houston, Texas, to commit fraud against the AAA insurance company in order to fraudulently obtain the BMW 525i luxury sedan. Shauna Crowden Hunter faces up to forty (40) years imprisonment if convicted of the indictment in Texas. SHAUNA HUNTER is scheduled for trial in federal court in Houston, Texas on January 24, 2011 and has a trial date in federal court in New Orleans on February 28, 2011.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Orleans Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian M. Klebba and Matthew Chester of the Financial Crimes Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org