Chamico President And Employees Plead Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Mail Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced today that CHARLES E. “CHUCK” MIZELL, JR., age 44, a resident of Bogalusa, Louisiana; JAMES CREEL, age 48, a resident of Bogalusa, Louisiana; WILLIAM DARRYL KING, age 47, a resident of Angie, Louisiana; and TENILLE NIELSON, age 34, a resident of Franklinton, Louisiana, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud for their participation in a scheme to defraud the Louisiana Workforce Commission of unemployment benefits. MIZELL also pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud.
In April 2014, MIZELL, CREEL, KING, and NIELSON were indicted, along with JACQUELINE MYERS, JERRY ATHEY, DAVID LOWE, TERRY CASTILOW, and ROGER NADEAU, for mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. According to the indictment, beginning at a time unknown, but no later than on or about September 24, 2009, and continuing through on or about January 11, 2014, MIZELL, CASTILOW, KING, LOWE, CREEL, ATHEY, NIELSON, MYERS, and NADEAU conspired to defraud the Louisiana Workforce Commission (“LWC”) of money and property by means of false and fraudulent representations, pretenses and promises, well knowing the representations, pretenses and promises were false, and mailed and caused to be mailed through the United States Postal Service unemployment (“UI”) benefit claim forms for the purpose of obtaining UI benefits to which they were not entitled. Specifically, at the time CASTILOW, KING, LOWE, CREEL, ATHEY, NIELSON, MYERS, and NADEAU applied for UI benefits and made weekly representations to LWC that they were unemployed and not getting paid, MIZELL actually employed them at Chamico, Inc., a Bogalusa construction company that concentrates on public, municipal, and industrial contracts.
MIZELL was the President of Chamico and, according to the factual bases, he asked those employees to fraudulently file for unemployment so that he would not have to pay their full salaries during tough economic times for Chamico. The employees would each get cash from Chamico during the weeks they were claiming unemployment benefits and reporting that they were not working and not getting any income from work.
MIZELL, KING, NIELSON, and CREEL each face not more than five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release on the conspiracy conviction. MIZELL faces an additional sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release on each of the five counts of mail fraud. Sentencing for all defendants is scheduled on December 17, 2014.
The trial of ROGER NADEAU, the only remaining defendant, is scheduled for September 15, 2014.
The case was investigated by the Department of Labor-OIG and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily K. Greenfield.
Updated November 18, 2014