FEDERAL JURY FINDS FORMER N.O.P.D. CAPTAIN GUILTY OF CONSPIRACY AND WIRE FRAUD
MICHAEL ROUSSEL, age 46, a captain with the New Orleans Police Department, was convicted by a federal jury sitting in New Orleans of conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to evidence introduced at trial, in June 2010, ROUSSEL contacted a cooperating witness at Entergy and told him that he (ROUSSEL) had a friend, Joseph Branch, who lived in Texas and owned a company that provided security services. ROUSSEL told the witness that if he gave ROUSSEL’s friend a contract, ROUSSEL’s friend would provide money to both ROUSSEL and the cooperating witness.
The cooperating witness then met with ROUSSEL and Branch, the owner of Gladius, Inc., in New Orleans. During this meeting, Branch indicated that he sought at least $75 per hour, per guard, and asked what the maximum hourly rate that Entergy would pay. Ultimately, they agreed to an hourly rate of $89.50 per hour, per guard with an inflated portion of approximately $15.00 per hour, per guard. The cooperating witness, Branch and ROUSSEL then agreed to split the $15.00 inflated fraudulent charge equally, that being $5.00 to the witness, $5.00 to Branch and $5.00 to ROUSSEL.
Further evidence showed that on June 22, 2010, the witness, ROUSSEL, and Branch met and signed a contract wherein Gladius would provide armed guards to Entergy following a hurricane. The hourly rate charged by Gladius to Entergy would be inflated by approximately $15.00 per hour, per guard to cover the above described payments to the cooperating witness, Branch and ROUSSEL.
Joseph Branch, who testified for the Government at trial, previously pled guilty on March 10, 2011 to Count 1 of a Superseding Indictment which charged Branch with conspiring to defraud Entergy Services, Inc. and the Federal Government.
ROUSSEL’s sentencing is currently scheduled for June 30, 2011 before the Honorable Carl J. Barbier. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five (5) years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.. Each wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of thirty (30) years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000, five (5) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael W. Magner and Harry W. McSherry, Jr..
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