Retired OPSO Colonel Sentenced for Fraudulent Employment Scheme
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that ROY AUSTIN, age 69, of St. Tammany Parish and a retired Colonel of the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (“OPSO”), was sentenced today after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt sentenced AUSTIN to six months imprisonment followed by six months of home confinement, all to be followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, AUSTIN was ordered to pay $83,914 in restitution and perform 200 hours of community service.
According to court documents, AUSTIN admitted that in his role as a Colonel in OPSO 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.
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 was in charge of the prosecution.