FOUR PLEAD GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING OIL INDUSTRY SERVICE COMPANY
LARRY COLLINS, age 63, a resident of Golden Meadow, Louisiana; KEVIN LAROUSSE, age 41, a resident of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; RICHARD AUTIN, age 51, a resident of Houma, Louisiana; and WOODY COLLINS, age 39, a resident of Lockport, Louisiana, pled guilty to violations of federal law in court today before U. S. District Judge Jay Zainey, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. LARRY COLLINS, LAROUSSE and AUTIN pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and WOODY COLLINS pled guilty to misprision of a felony.
According to court documents, the defendants defrauded Newpark Resources, Inc., a company that provides drilling fluids, site access, and environmental products and services to the oil and gas exploration and production industry. Defendant RICHARD AUTIN was the facilities manager at Newpark’s Port Fourchon facility. Defendants LARRY COLLINS, WOODY COLLINS and KEVIN LAROUSSE were the owners and operators of Mid-South, a company based in Golden Meadow that provided contract laborers to Newpark’s Port Fourchon facility.
Between 2003 and 2009, LARRY COLLINS and KEVIN LAROUSSE entered into an unlawful agreement with RICHARD AUTIN whereby Mid-South would employ RICHARD AUTIN’S wife and son. In return, RICHARD AUTIN would allow LARRY COLLINS and KEVIN LAROUSSE to bill Newpark for fraudulent time based on fictitious employees to cover the cost of his family’s salaries.
KEVIN LAROUSSE received weekly time sheets from RICHARD AUTIN for Mid-South employees who had done legitimate work at Newpark. LARRY COLLINS and KEVIN LAROUSSE would then add four or five fictitious names to the time sheets with the knowledge and approval of RICHARD AUTIN. LARRY COLLINS and KEVIN LAROUSSE would then provide invoices, reflecting the altered time sheets, to RICHARD AUTIN. RICHARD AUTIN would then send the invoices, based on the altered time sheets, to Newpark for payment. In all, Newpark paid approximately $310,805.65 to Mid-South in fraudulent billing to cover the cost of the salaries of RICHARD AUTIN’s family members.
Furthermore, defendant WOODY COLLINS, aware of the unlawful agreement between his co-defendants, failed to notify any authority and affirmatively concealed the conspiracy by continuing to process and file false and fraudulent invoices in the records of Mid-South during his employment.
LARRY COLLINS, KEVIN LAROUSSE and RICHARD AUTIN face a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years on the conspiracy charge, a fine of $250,000.00 and up to two (2) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. WOODY COLLINS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of three (3) years, a fine of $250,000.00 and up to two (2) years supervised release. Sentencing is set for July 24, 2012.
The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U. S. Attorney G. Dall Kammer.
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