Wednesday, April 10, 2013

2 Louisiana Men Plead Guilty To Embezzling More Than $661K From Housing Authority

Two former HANO employees plead guilty to embezzlement charges
By Richard A. Webster, | The Times-Picayune
April 08, 2013 at 11:43 AM, updated April 08, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Two former Housing Authority of New Orleans employees have pleaded guilty to charges they embezzled $661,904 from the agency over two years. Janice Staves, 55, and James Youngblood, 69, will be sentenced July 10; they face a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervision after their release. They will be required to make full restitution for the money stolen.
The defendants agreed in their plea April 3 to inform the government of anyone who might be violating the law and assist in any investigation. In return, the government will bring to the attention of the court before sentencing any cooperation provided by the defendants and agrees not to bring any other charges against them in connection with their employment at HANO.

When asked if Staves is assisting in a broader investigation of HANO, her attorney, Marion Floyd, said, "No comment."

"Ms. Staves has accepted full responsibility for her actions in the case and is extremely remorseful," Floyd said. "She understands the severity of the restitution aspect and will take every step within her power to repay the amount in question."

Staves, who worked at HANO until 2009 and is currently employed at Delgado Community College, funneled money to Youngblood, her former co-worker, by creating false paperwork, including purchase orders for debris removal or supplies, according to a Feb. 27 bill of information filed in federal court. She secured the needed supervisor sign-off by including paperwork for the fake work along with paperwork for legitimate vendors.

HANO ended up issuing Youngblood 135 checks, The totals were kept under $15,000 so that no additional supervisor signature was needed, according to documents.

Youngblood would deposit the checks and bring Staves cash. The two would meet at the HANO office, in the parking lot, or the lots of nearby gas stations or restaurants, according to the document.
Staves deposited about $100,448 in cash into her bank accounts between 2007 and 2009. Youngblood also paid subcontractors to work on rental property she owned at the end of 2007, using money the two stole from the federal agency, prosecutors allege.

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune

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