LAFAYETTE, La. –United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that former St. Landry Parish School Board member Quincy Richard Sr., 51, of Opelousas, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik to 33 months in prison for one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of bribery. He was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay a $10,000 fine. A jury found him guilty after a two-day trial on August 20, 2013.
During trial, the witness testimony and documents presented revealed that Quincy Richard was shown to have conspired with fellow St. Landry Parish School Board member John Miller, 72, of Opelousas, to receive bribe money from former school board superintendent candidate Joseph Cassimere in return for their support. In July, August and September of 2012, Richard and Miller had a number of private meetings with Cassimere where they negotiated price and payment from Cassimere in exchange for their favorable individual votes as school board members in support of Cassimere’s candidacy for superintendent. At the same time the screening process for the superintendent position was ongoing, and by the week of September 16, 2012, five applicants had been publicly named; the final vote was scheduled for September 26, 2012. Unknown to both school board members, Cassimere had reported Richard and Miller’s plans to the authorities and became a cooperating party in the investigation.
The defendants met with Cassimere on September 24, 2012, at the Quarters Restaurant in Opelousas and received $5,000 each in return for their votes. During the conversation, they made it clear that Cassimere’s payment was for their services, efforts, influence, and due diligence relating to the votes of other members of the school board who would support Cassimere’s candidacy. Trial testimony revealed that Richard advised Cassimere that he could recoup the $10,000 bribe by adding that amount to his salary request. Richard and Miller provided Cassimere with instructions on how to justify the salary increase since it was above the amount advertised for the superintendent’s position. The September 24, 2012 discussion was videoed and surveilled by the FBI. After the defendants exited the restaurant, they were confronted by agents who recovered the $5,000 payments in the possession of Quincy and Miller.
Miller was indicted on October 24, 2012, and resigned from his position as a school board member on July 28, 2013. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery on July 1, 2013. Miller was sentenced on November 19, 2013, to home detention for 10 months and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.
“This closes the door on a very unfortunate chapter for the School Board in Opelousas,” Finley stated. “Quincy Richard was thinking only of himself and not about the children, the community and the School Board he was elected to serve. This sentence should send a message that public corruption will not be tolerated. I hope the Opelousas School Board can now move forward to take care of the important work that needs to be addressed for the citizens of Opelousas.”
“Public corruption is unacceptable within any level or function of government, but when it infiltrates our schools and future generations of the citizenry, there is an even greater need for full accountability,” said Michael J. Anderson, FBI Special Agent in Charge, New Orleans Division.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alexandria Resident Agency, conducted the investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard C. Parker prosecuted the case.