A former state agency audit director is facing ethics charges related to a fraud case for which he’s already serving federal prison time.
The Louisiana Ethics Board said Delrice Augustus used his agency-issued credit cards to make approximately $270,0000 in purchases to which he was not entitled. State ethics law bans public servants from receiving “anything of economic value, other than compensation and benefits” from the entity they are employed by for the performance of their job.
Augustus was sentenced last fall to 37 months in federal prison, followed by two years’ supervised release for stealing from a federally funded agency — the state Department of Children and Family Services. He also was ordered to pay $155,000 in restitution to DCFS and forfeit $150,000 to the federal government.
Augustus was an audit director for the agency from July 2009 to May 2014.
Augustus could be fined up to $10,000 per violation and up to one-and-a-half times the economic gain improperly received.
“Collection is going to be difficult,” state ethics administrator Kathleen Allen said, noting he’s in prison and must also pay restitution.
But Allen said “these are violations of the (ethics) code and there are penalties.”
She said Augustus’ paying restitution in connection with the federal case can be taken into consideration in levying any penalty.
In recently released documents, the Ethics Board said Augustus undertook a “fraudulent reimbursement scheme.”
“Mr. Augustus made, or had made for his personal benefit, credit card purchases, which included an installed dishwasher, televisions, movies, cameras, wireless audio systems, gaming devices, mobile computing devices and a Dyson Vacuum,” the board said.
The board said Augustus also:
Used the state-issued credit card for the personal purchase of gasoline, rental vehicles and hotel rooms;
Rented a hotel suite on his agency travel card in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and the NBA All-Star game; and
Engaged in a scheme to create and use fraudulent documents to request and receive reimbursement from the state of Louisiana for official travel that did not occur.
The board filed the charges with the Ethics Adjudicatory Board for hearing and assessment of “appropriate penalties.”