ST. FRANCISVILLE — Two of seven people indicted last year in an alleged check-cashing scheme to divert insurance money entered pleas Thursday to reduced charges.
John B. Perry, 63, 7599 Greenup Lane, Ethel, pleaded guilty to theft of less than $300, while David Deloach, 56, pleaded no contest to theft of less than $500.
Deloach and Perry were indicted on one count each of felony theft in an alleged scheme to divert $80,000 in insurance money from a nonprofit Clinton organization that was meant to go to Union Bethel Family Church near Weyanoke.
The nonprofit Feliciana Enrichment Center’s building in Clinton burned in August 2008 and the insurance money was supposed to go to the nonprofit church. State Police investigators said the money was instead diverted to private hands.
West Feliciana Police Juror John Cobb, his wife and his mother-in-law were indicted on three counts of felony theft, while Oliver Wingfield, then an East Feliciana School Board member, and the Rev. George Veal, of Clinton, were indicted on one count each of felony theft.
State Police said last year that Perry and Deloach accepted checks as compensation for contract work on the church that they never performed and the money was diverted to other parties in the scheme.
Twentieth Judicial District Judge William G. Carmichael deferred sentencing for Deloach and Perry for a year on the condition they make restitution to the church, pay a $500 fine and court costs and abide by the standard terms of supervised probation.
If the two complete the probation period satisfactorily, the verdicts of acquittal could be entered in their cases, the judge said.
Carmichael rejected Cobb’s contention in February that State Police and the District Attorney’s Office lack the authority to investigate a tax-exempt church’s finances.
District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla said Cobb is appealing Carmichael’s ruling.
D’Aquilla said Perry and Deloach would be obligated to testify if they are called as witnesses in any proceedings involving the other five defendants.