A former auditing director for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services was sentenced Wednesday to more than three years in federal prison after admitting to stealing more than $150,000 from the department by misusing state credit cards.
U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick also ordered Delrice Jermaine Augustus, 34, of Baton Rouge, to pay $155,000 in restitution to DCFS and forfeit $150,000 to the federal government in addition to serving 37 months.
Augustus, who resigned May 23 and pleaded guilty five days later to theft from a federally funded entity, admitted he began stealing from the agency in 2010 by using an assistant’s state credit card to buy personal items and also misused a state travel card to buy hotel suites in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and the NBA All-Star Game.
Augustus had been auditing director for DCFS since mid-2009.
Two other former DCFS auditors — Kaneasha Goston, 38, and Corey S. Polk, 33, both of Baton Rouge — also have pleaded guilty to federal program fraud in the case involving Augustus. They are awaiting sentencing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson has said in court that Augustus used a subordinate’s state credit card to buy personal items for himself and others, including an installed dishwasher, televisions, movies, cameras, wireless audio systems, gaming devices, mobile devices and vacuums.
“By using the subordinate’s card, Augustus eliminated oversight since Augustus, as the subordinate’s supervisor, reviewed and approved charges on the subordinate’s card,” the prosecutor said at Augustus’ hearing May 28, at which he pleaded guilty.
Detectives do not consider Augustus’ assistant a suspect.
Amundson said Augustus also misused state travel and gas cards to pay for personal travel and entertainment expenses for himself and others, including gas, rental vehicles and hotel stays.
Augustus created and used fraudulent documents to request and receive reimbursement from the state for official travel that did not occur, his plea agreement states. The fake documents would reflect that Polk and Goston had incurred official travel expenses.
Polk and Goston would sign fraudulent reimbursement requests as the requesting employees, and Augustus would sign as the approving supervisor. The state would pay the requested amount to Polk and Goston, who would split the proceeds with Augustus, according to his plea agreement.
State Police detectives arrested Augustus in March.
U.S. Attorney Walt Green has said DCFS leadership has fully cooperated with the investigation.