SHERIFF, IRVIN F. HINGLE, SENTENCED FOR CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MAIL FRAUD AND BRIBERY
IRVIN F. HINGLE, a/k/a “JIFF” HINGLE, age 61, a resident of Belle Chasse, Louisiana, was sentenced today to 46 months imprisonment by U. S. District Judge Sarah R. Vance after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, announced U. S. Attorney Dana J. Boente. In addition to the term of imprisonment, Judge Vance ordered that HINGLE be placed on two years of supervised release following the term of imprisonment, pay a $10,000 fine and a $100.00 special assessment.
According to court documents, from approximately 1992 through 2011, HINGLE was employed as the elected Sheriff of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. As the Sheriff, HINGLE was the chief law enforcement officer for Plaquemines Parish.
In 2007, the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office entered into a contract with Benetech, LLC (Benetech) to provide services relating to recovery from damages due to previous and future natural disasters. In early- to mid- 2008, on two separate occasions, HINGLE, as the Sheriff, approved Benetech’s invoices and issued checks to Benetech in connection with work purportedly done under the 2007 contract. Within weeks of HINGLE’s approvals, W. Aaron Bennett, the owner of Benetech, paid HINGLE $10,000 in cash, on two separate occasions, intending to influence him in connection with the contract between Benetech and the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office.
In addition, as the elected Sheriff, HINGLE was required to file annual campaign reports with the Louisiana Board of Ethics in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and to certify, among other things, information relating to campaign contributions and expenditures. According to court documents, in 2008, HINGLE solicited campaign contributions from contributors and instead of expending those funds for campaign-related activities, HINGLE expended them for personal use, in violation of Louisiana campaign finance laws. HINGLE and others in his campaign finalized the 2008 campaign finance report and mailed it to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in February 2009, falsely listing over $100,000 in expenditures as campaign-related when, in fact, they were for personal use.
The case was investigated by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Matt Chester and Eileen Gleason.
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