A federal public corruption probe into Sorrento Town Councilman Randy Anny is indeed ongoing and has focused, in part, on Anny’s bank records in an attempt to “follow the money,” an FBI special agent testified Monday.
FBI Special Agent Kobey McCall, a certified public accountant and former auditor, added that a separate federal probe into allegations Anny and his wife, Barbara Falgoust Anny, committed fraud against the BP oil spill claims fund over an allegedly bogus boat damage was a “tangent” that arose after the bank records review for a “broader investigation.”
McCall’s testimony Monday in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge came during a hearing over whether to suppress a search warrant that allowed investigators to seize Anny’s sport boat on Feb. 24, 2015, in the BP fraud case.
“We’re trying to follow the money,” McCall told Barbara Anny’s defense attorney, John McLindon, as Anny and his wife watched.
McCall’s revelation contradicts what Randy Anny’s defense attorney said last month — that the probe was closed based on the information he had. The attorney, Michael Davis, reiterated that view afterward Monday.
During the hearing, McLindon also suggested to the FBI agent that the broader probe had been closed, but McCall responded: “I wouldn’t say that, no.”
“It’s an ongoing investigation,” McCall added.
McLindon asked again if the broader investigation is ongoing.
“Yes, sir,” McCall said.
U.S. District Judge James J. Brady, who did not rule on the suppression motion Monday, disclosed last month in court papers that investigators have conducted two probes into Anny: the BP fraud case and a public corruption investigation, often referred to as “the broader investigation.”
Brady did not describe then the status of that probe or what it pertains to, and prosecutors have declined comment.
No charges have been brought against Anny in the broader investigation. Anny and his wife face wire fraud and conspiracy counts over the BP claim and have pleaded not guilty.
When McLindon tried to press McCall for more information on the broader investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Dippel Jr. objected and Brady sustained him, citing a prior ruling on that matter.
McLindon and Davis have argued in court papers that the information in the boat search warrant was stale and lacked probable cause. Investigators got the warrant in early February 2015, more than four years after the alleged boat repairs.
In response, prosecutors have claimed they were operating in good faith as they gathered more evidence to support the warrant.
Attacking that claim Monday, McLindon and Davis quizzed McCall and Ascension Parish sheriff’s Capt. Mike Toney over apparent discrepancies in the search warrant and over the steps the investigators took to verify claims made by a business owner in December 2013 that he didn’t fix Anny’s boat as Anny had told the BP fund.
Davele Davis, owner of Kellium LLC, told investigators, according to the warrant affidavit, that he never created the invoice Anny submitted to BP, didn’t do the work claimed in the invoice and wasn’t paid the $7,800 that a Kellium invoice showed was paid.
Anny helped Davis — who is the nephew of now-deceased NBA star and former Anny business partner John “Hot Rod” Williams — establish Kellium, McCall testified.
Investigators interviewed Davis on Dec. 17, 2013, after they received Anny’s bank records in late October 2013, McCall testified Monday.
He said the bank records led to the discovery of a $7,800 transfer into Anny’s bank account from the BP claims fund. McCall and Toney said the transfer raised a question because Anny lives in Sorrento, far from the Gulf Coast, though the defense attorneys noted BP claims have been made from as far north as Baton Rouge and Alexandria.
McCall said they found no other evidence related to Davele Davis’ claims before the seizure of Anny’s boat in February 2015, saying the BP issue was “a tangent to the broader investigation.”
“We didn’t do anything until the boat was seized,” Toney added later.
McCall testified the boat was seized so it could be taken to people who could verify if the repairs had been made.