TEXAS MAN SENTENCED TO 5 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON
JOSEPH BRANCH, age 38, of Chandler, Texas, was sentenced this morning in federal court by the U. S. District Court Judge Carl J. Barbier to 60 months imprisonment, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. In March, BRANCH pled guilty to Count 1 of a superseding indictment which charged him with conspiring to defraud Entergy Services, Inc. and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.).
According to court documents, BRANCH, owner of Gladius, Inc., and New Orleans Police Department Captain Michael Roussel met with a cooperating witness in New Orleans. During the meeting, BRANCH and Roussel met and signed a contract wherein Gladius, Inc. would provide armed guards to Entergy after a hurricane. The hourly rate charged by Gladius to the company, would be inflated by approximately $15.00 per hour, per guard to cover payments to the defendants. The cooperating witness, BRANCH and Roussel 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.
On June 22, 2010, the witness, Roussel, and BRANCH met and signed a contract wherein Gladius would provide armed guards to Entergy after 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.
The Court denied the Government’s motion for a downward departure of Branch’s sentence despite the fact that he agreed that Branch had provided substantial assistance on the grounds that Branch’s sentence was significantly below Roussel’s sentence. Roussel was sentenced by Judge Barbier on September 8 , 2011 to 136 months of imprisonment.
BRANCH’s term of imprisonment is to be followed by three (3) years of supervised release. BRANCH was also ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.00 within thirty days.
This case was investigated by Special Agent Dewayne Horner 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