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Press Release

Retired Colonel in Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that ROY AUSTIN, 69, of St. Tammany Parish and a retired Colonel of the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (“OPSO”), pled guilty today to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to court documents, AUSTIN admitted that in his role as a Colonel in the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, he arranged for security details through a private company (Austin Sales and Service) for local entities and events, including Mardi Gras Krewes, music and food festivals, and sporting events, and engaged in a scheme to defraud those local entities and events by padding the billing documents with names of individuals who did not in fact provide any security services (“Ghost Employees”). 

Additionally, AUSTIN admitted that after submitting the fraudulently inflated invoices via interstate wires, AUSTIN kept a portion of the overbilled amount in the Austin Sales and Service corporate bank account for his own personal use.  In some instances, AUSTIN drafted Austin Sales and Service corporate checks made payable to the Ghost Employees who did not work and then fraudulently endorsed those checks and deposited them into his personal bank account for his own personal use.  AUSTIN also admitted drafting checks made payable to other OPSO employee(s)’ family members under the fraudulent guise of payments for detail work that in fact did not take place as those employee(s)’ share of the fraudulently collected funds.

AUSTIN faces statutory penalties of up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.   U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt set sentencing for August 3, 2016.

U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter and would also like to acknowledge the assistance provided by the Louisiana Legislative Auditors.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Toomey is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated May 4, 2016

Financial Fraud