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Wildlife and Fisheries dispatcher allegedly defrauded COVID relief program, misused government database

2 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Thursday, February 24 2022 Feb 24, 2022 February 24, 2022 4:05 PM February 24, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - An employee with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is behind bars after she allegedly commited fraud and used her position to illegally access government records.

According to arrest records, 52-year-old Katrina Burton claimed she owned an independent hair salon during the pandemic and used fake documents to get a large loan from the COVID-19 Pandemic Paycheck Protection Program. She also helped contract employee Illya Chaney submit a loan application, claiming he owned a barbershop, despite never having been registered with the Board of Barbers for any reason. Both received a PPP loan for $20,832.

Investigations into Burton's bank account show only $616.52 of her loan was used on hair supplies. The rest was spent on personal purchases.

Burton was interviewed about the loan and said she did make money styling hair from her own home. However, she claims she did not make enough money from the activity for it to qualify as an official business.

Burton also misused her position to "access sensitive state and federal information for personal reasons." Arrest records state she searched for the criminal records of a family member under the names of fellow employees and did not fill in the required log after accessing the database.

The LDWF says she resigned from her position, effective Feb. 8.

She has been booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of illegal transmission of monetary funds, criminal conspiracy, trespassing against state computers, injuring public records, and malfeasance in office.

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