banddirector.081118_HS_031

Former Director of Bands at Southern University Nathan Haymer listens as his attorney, Karl Bernard, speaks on his behalf during a press conference, Friday, August 10, 2018, in Baton Rouge, La.

A former Southern University marching band director pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge that accused him of misappropriating school money.

Nathan Haymer, whose duties as director of the "Human Jukebox" included making purchases and paying expenses during the band's many trips across Louisiana and the country, was charged in June with federal program theft of more than $30,000.

"At this time we will reserve comment," said his attorney, Karl Bernard.

Haymer, 42, was accused of submitting false documents, like forged invoices, on more than a dozen occasions between November 2016 and March 2018.

Haymer, who became the marching band's director in November 2014, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor said in a report last year that Haymer used an unauthorized third party to collect public funds and kept about $293,000 in possible violation of state and federal laws.

Haymer set up the collection system without approval of the school and used some of the money for personal purposes, the audit said.

The review stated, for example, that Haymer received $43,900 in payments from Mardi Gras krewes for Southern band performances during parades and other events from February 2015 to February 2018.

Southern fired Haymer in 2018, saying an audit by the school showed that $300,000 in band camp and other fees were in Haymer's personal bank accounts.

Bernard had said previously that Haymer had been directed to set up the unusual system by school officials, and that more evidence would clear his client.

After Haymer was fired he paid the school $34,081.

The university audit stemmed from complaints that Haymer sought kickbacks for the band to appear at an event for schoolchildren.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.