Former Morgan City Housing Authority director, employee plead guilty to conspiracy charge
LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that the former director of the Morgan City Housing Authority and a former employee pleaded guilty to charges related to theft of more than a half a million dollars.
Charles E. Spann, 78, of Kingsport, Tenn., and Tori D. Johnson, 38, of Morgan City, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carol B. Whitehurst to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The plea will become final when accepted by U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter. According to the guilty plea, Spann, Johnson and two other Morgan City Housing Authority employees received $514,764.14 in bonus payments to which they were not entitled from 2007 to 2013. In 2007, a one-time bonus for work performed in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita was granted. After the one-time bonuses were sent to all employees of the housing authority, Johnson requested from Spann, who was director of the housing authority, that she, Spann and two other employees, Diana L. Pace, 64, and Sandra L. Greene, 59, both of Morgan City, continue to receive bonuses. Johnson wrote false justifications for the bonuses and Spann signed off on them. The bonuses were not approved by the civil service board or the Morgan City Housing Authority Board of Directors. Span received $111,657.47, and Johnson received $100,040.23 to which they were not entitled.
The defendants face five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution. A sentencing date of June 27, 2016 was set for Spann and Johnson.
The U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Investigations, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly P. Uebinger and Robert F. Moore are prosecuting the case.