Two Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Deputies Sentenced to 50 Months Imprisonment for Their Roles in Kickback and Bribery Scheme Involving Contract for Privatization of Work Release Program in St. Tammany Parish
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that DAVID HANSON, age 63, from Abita Springs, Louisiana, and CLIFFORD “SKIP” KEEN, age 53, from Covington, Louisiana, were each sentenced today to 50 months imprisonment by United States District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle, after they previously pleaded guilty as charged to a one-count Bill of Information charging them with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and soliciting a bribe, in violation of 18 U.S.C. '' 371, 1343, 1346, and 666(a)(1)(B). The charges stemmed from their roles in the privatization of a work release program in Slidell, Louisiana, that operated between 2013 and 2016. Additionally, HANSON and KEEN were sentenced to three (3) years of supervised release, a $10,000 fine and a $100 mandatory special assessment fee. Restitution ordered without prejudice, with the amount to be determined at a later date.
According to court documents, HANSON and KEEN, each of whom worked as Captains with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office (STPSO) discussed with then-Sheriff Rodney J. (“Jack”) Strain about becoming owners of a work release program in Slidell, Louisiana that Strain decided to privatize. As sheriff, Strain had authority, among other things, to enter into certain contracts binding STPSO, including professional service contracts, unilaterally. Because STPSO rules prohibited employees from “participating in a transaction in which he has a personal substantial economic interest of which he may be reasonably expected to know involving the governmental entity,” HANSON and KEEN would have had to resign from STPSO—thereby losing their salaries and future pension increases—if they wanted to assume ownership and control of the Slidell work release program. HANSON, KEEN, and Strain discussed ways to allow HANSON and KEEN to maintain their employment and still profit from the Slidell work release program. Ultimately, HANSON, KEEN, and Strain agreed to make KEEN’s adult son (Person 1) and HANSON’s adult daughter (Person 2) owners of the Slidell work release program.