INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Ghost employee collected taxpayer money for 12 years, no record of any work done
NEW ROADS - A disturbing discovery has been made at the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office after former Sheriff Bud Torres vacated office at the end of June. Under his watch, a ghost employee collected a salary and billed taxpayers for a lot of gas with no record of any cases being worked.
The ghost employee, blacked out on documents with a handwritten job title as "intelligence officer" collected a salary and benefits from 2008, until he left with the outgoing sheriff a couple of weeks ago. That employee was also issued a sheriff's unit which was paid for by taxpayers. The truck, a 2019 Dodge Ram Crew Cab was purchased brand new, and when it was turned in a couple of weeks ago it had 110,000 miles on it.
"To me, it doesn't pass the smell test," Chief Deputy Brad Joffrion told the WBRZ Investigative Unit.
This case now has the attention of state investigators. Due to the investigation and undercover nature of his alleged work, WBRZ has made an editorial decision not to identify the employee as of yet.
Earlier this month, the WBRZ Investigative Unit submitted a public records request for all payroll records, fuel receipts, and any cases that the employee worked.
"Checking with the employees especially those that have been in investigations that have been here 20 plus years, they tell me they have never worked any cases with this individual, never laid eyes on him or received information from him, and have no paperwork that he was involved in any cases," Joffrion said.
When the employee was hired in August of 2008, he earned $28,875.08. Recent payroll records indicate that his salary was $42,000.92.
The vehicles that he was driving are also concerning. All sheriff's units are maintained in house. But, the person who deals with their fleet had no record that the white Dodge Ram was even a unit because it was never brought to them.
With the amount of mileage that was on the truck, the WBRZ Investigative Unit did the math and found this employee could have driven every day from Baton Rouge to Mobile, Alabama for how many miles were logged on the odometer. The truck was only in service for 18 months and was purchased brand new.
"I did look at the gas receipts and it was a tremendous amount of fuel purchased," Joffrion said. "For that vehicle, a whole lot more, three times more than what an average patrolman uses. Most were outside the parish."
The WBRZ Investigative Unit spoke to the ghost employee by phone Tuesday. He referred all questions to his attorney. His attorney did not return our calls.
We also contacted former Sheriff Bud Torres. He did not return our calls.
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