Stolen Funds Returned To Taxpayers
Gulfport, Miss. -- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi has returned over $1 million of forfeited money to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis. The forfeited funds were seized from Roger Joe Ladner, 56, of Kiln, Mississippi, in conjunction with his prosecution for a bribery conspiracy and theft of government funds. These funds were forfeited to the United States because they were paid to Ladner as a result of his scheme to defraud Hancock County and FEMA.
Roger Joe Ladner was formerly employed with Hancock County, Mississippi, as the road superintendent. Following Hurricane Katrina, he was given authority by the board of supervisors to award contracts on a ditch cleaning project funded by FEMA. In exchange for awarding the contracts to certain contractors, including two of his brothers, Ladner unlawfully accepted money in the amount of approximately $1.2 million. Sharon Ladner admitted to falsifying documents in connection with a federal investigation by creating a false invoice in the name of her company, Sharon Construction, in an effort to conceal the bribery conspiracy from federal investigators.
Roger Joe Ladner was sentenced to 60 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit bribery. He was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and restitution of $1,134,538 to FEMA. The Court entered a final order of forfeiture directing that the $1.2 million dollars seized be forfeited to the United States government.
Sharon Frances Ladner was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release for falsifying documents in connection with a federal investigation. She was also ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.
Billy Wayne Ladner was sentenced to 39 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release for theft of government funds. He was ordered to pay restitution of $590,058 to FEMA.
Donald Ray Ladner was sentenced to six months in prison followed by six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring, and two years of supervised release, for theft of government funds. He was ordered to pay restitution of $291,790 to FEMA.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruth Morgan.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at:
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