Expert gives insight to Funes case ahead of Thursday's hearing
BATON ROUGE - The former head of Our Lady of the Lake Foundation is expected to plead guilty in federal court on Thursday.
Accused of stealing more than half a million dollars of foundation money meant for cancer patients, John Paul Funes has been charged with money laundering and wire fraud. The disgraced former CEO is scheduled to fulfill his end of a federal plea deal in downtown Baton Rouge Thursday morning.
Funes could get anywhere from zero to 20 years in prison, along with thousands of dollars in fines. Criminal defense attorney David Stanley says his sentencing will be up to the judge.
"Assuming this is a first offense, and there are other mitigating factors involved, such as acceptance of responsibility under the federal sentencing guidelines and other considerations, it would be surprising if it were a maximum sentence," Stanley said. "I don't think that would be something to be expected in this case."
Funes has issued a public apology with a pledge to repay the money.
There is an LSU connection to all this. Reportedly the mother and sister of former Tiger quarterback Rohan Davey were the individuals who prosecutors say had $100,000 sent to them, most of which they funneled back to Funes.
Davey played his senior year at LSU in 2001.
Stanley says it's completely unclear at this point if Davey's family will face any charges themselves.
"Typically when your name appears in a federal criminal charge it's not a good thing," he said. "But what I would tell those individuals is they should consult their own attorney and make sure their rights are protected."
Stanley expects much more clarity in the Funes case in the coming days and weeks.
It could still be a couple of months before Funes is sentenced. WBRZ will be at the courthouse on Thursday with the expected guilty plea.