Lafayette business owner sentenced to 37 months for mail fraud in connection with double billing scheme
LAFAYETTE, La. – Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that a Lafayette business owner was sentenced last week to 37 months in prison for mail fraud charge in a scheme where he double-billed the Calcasieu Parish school system for leased copiers.
Leonard Espree, 53, of Layette, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter on one count of mail fraud. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $197,387.78 restitution. According to the January 12, 2017 guilty plea, Espree, who worked as a contractor providing and servicing copiers for the Calcasieu Parish School Board, sent a letter in November of 2011 to the school system announcing the refinancing of leases on equipment from the leasing company. He intentionally misidentified some of the office equipment in the new lease agreement. This created an effect where the same pieces of equipment were being leased twice to the school board. The result of the double billing during the overall scheme cost the school board and other customers $197,387.78. Espree received a portion of this money for his services, to which he was not entitled.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamilla A. Bynog prosecuted the case.