Contractor charged by feds in bribery scheme that implicated top state official
LAFAYETTE - Seven months after the head of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries resigned after he was implicated in an apparent kickback scheme involving a contract the agency signed with a private contractor, federal prosecutors charged a contractor with conspiracy charges.
The Advocate was first to report on the situation that led to Jack Montoucet's abrupt resignation earlier this year. The newspaper identified Montoucet as one of the public officials involved.
This week, federal prosecutors charged Joseph Prejean with conspiracy charges tied to a scheme involving C & A Consulting Services. Prosecutors said a man named Dusty Guidry and another public official would use their positions to unlawfully steer and attempt to steer participants in a pretrial diversion program to classes and services offered by C&A Consulting. Prosecutors allege Prejean corruptly solicited $25,000 from a person then split that money with the other parties.
"When the feds are on to you, good luck," LSU Law Professor Ken Levy said. "They have ample investigative resources, and if they are aware of you committing this kind of corruption, they have the laws and investigative agents and will to come after you."
One of the people involved in the scheme plead guilty earlier this year. Dusty Guidry was a former employee of the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office.
District Attorney Hillar Moore said his office launched an audit when the allegations came to light. That audit recently was completed and revealed no findings.
"You wonder how this happens," Levy said. "In a way, it's very self destructive. To engage in this kind of corruption, you're going to get caught. You certainly are going to get caught lose your job and go to jail."
As of now, Montoucet remains unnamed in any court documents. He has not been charged.
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