The former director of the Morgan City Housing Authority and two former employees pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal charges in the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars over a six year period.
Charles E. Spann, 78, who is originally from Kingsport, Tennessee, pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy and 14 counts of theft of government money in U.S. Magistrate Judge Carol Whitehurst’s court on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley’s office said in a news release.
Former housing employees Diana L. Pace, 64, and Sandra L. Green, 59, both of Morgan City in eastern St. Mary Parish, pleaded not guilty to the same counts. A fourth defendant, 38-year-old Tori D. Johnson of Morgan City, is scheduled to be arraigned on March 31.
The four defendants were named in a 15 count indictment on Feb. 18 in the theft of $500,000 from 2007 to 2013, according to the release, allegedly for awarding themselves bonuses to which they were not entitled.
Each faces five years in prison if convicted of the conspiracy charge, and 10 years in prison for each of the theft charges. They also could be sentenced to three years supervised release and a fine up to $250,000.
Investigators with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development conducted the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly P. Uebinger and Robert F. Moore.