FORMER ORLEANS PARISH CRIMINAL SHERIFF AND CRIMINAL CLERK’S EMPLOYEE SENTENCED
GILISHIA GARRISON, age 41, a resident of New Orleans, was sentenced yesterday to two (2) years probation by United States District Court Judge Eldon Fallon, after having pled guilty to four counts of computer fraud by accessing a protected computer of the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office.
According to court documents, GARRISON accepted payment from four Orleans Parish criminal defendants who had been held on bond in exchange for fraudulently effecting their release from the Orleans Parish Prison. In the course of securing the release of the four Orleans Parish criminal defendants, GARRISON used her position as an employee of the Criminal Sheriff’s Office to access and manipulate the Sheriff’s computer system.
GARRISON admitted that she received a $1000 “money gram” to effect the release of Defendant “A,” who had been ordered held on a $75,000 bond. The Bill of Information further states that GARRISON received unspecified quantities of cash in exchange for accessing the computer and securing the releases of Defendants “B,” “C,” and “D.” Defendant “B” had been ordered held on a $20,000 bond; Defendant “C” had been ordered held on a $55,500 bond; and Defendant “D” had been ordered held on a $55,000 bond.
GARRISON also admitted that she accessed the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s computer system and altered each defendant’s bail status to one of personal recognizance, bonds that are normally reserved for individuals who have been determined by a judge of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court to not pose a danger to the community and to stand a strong likelihood to re-appear in court as ordered.
Court documents further explain that in order to properly and legally effect a change in a criminal defendant’s bail status from being held on bond to being released on personal recognizance, a formal Order of Release was to be authorized and signed by a judge; however, in common practice, employees of O.P.P. would personally sign an Order of Release per a judge’s instructions.
Throughout the time that GARRISON was employed part-time by the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office, she was also employed full-time by the Orleans Parish Criminal Clerk’s Office.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Orleans Police Department and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, with special assistance from Assistant District Attorney Michael Redmann. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United states Attorneys
Daniel P. Friel and Brian P. Marcelle.
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