Saturday, May 25, 2024
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New Tales of Government Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Nationwide

The following is a bimonthly compilation of government waste, fraud, abuse, theft, and crony capitalism that took place throughout the United States the previous two weeks. Gathered material comes from government audits and/or local media reports from throughout the nation. The previous waste/fraud/abuse report is available here.

• Louisiana: Former Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners Executive Secretary Fabian Blache III violated state law and collected large fines from businesses and entered contracts and revoked licenses without required board oversight. This is according to Baton Rouge Proud, which cited an Office of State Inspector General report.  Blache, without board approval, and among other things, illegally suspended the license of a firearms instructor, illegally issued and collected more than $100,000 in fines from two security firms that operate around the world and signed a seven-year contract with a company to make it the sole board-approved training option.

• Mississippi: The Jackson-based WLBT said one Rankin County Tax Assessor’s Office employee took more than 2,000 hours of vacation time than records show he earned. Another employee in that office supposedly investigated homestead cases while at a casino hotel for a law enforcement conference hours away. The station identified those two men as Pat Sullivan — who serves as part-time mayor of Richland — and Pearl Police Chief Dean Scott.

Meanwhile, the City of Jackson’s former Constituent Service Manager Keyshia Sanders, 48, was sentenced this month to five years of probation for wire fraud and ordered to pay approximately $54,000 in restitution. This is according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi. Sanders pleaded guilty to engaging in a wire fraud scheme to fraudulently induce the disbursement of grant money for her own benefit.  

• Montana: The now former director of the Montana Department of Commerce spent more than $26,000 in taxpayer money on personal expenses. As reported by Montana Public Radio, Scott Osterman resigned this month. “The bulk of the money Osterman spent was on transportation, food and lodging to commute between the agency’s headquarters in Helena and his home in Kalispell,” the station reported.

• New York: A state audit says the town of Ballston lost track of $300,000 worth of water used and spent an additional $90,000 on water it did not receive. As reported by the Albany-based Times Union, the town’s water clerk did her duties with little to no supervisory review.

• Ohio: Former Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood used taxpayer money from a Law Enforcement Trust Fund for his own personal uses, according to the Hillsboro-based Highland County Press. Wood reportedly withdraw cash from the fund at different ATM locations. “He also used his county debit card to purchase food, fuel, and lottery tickets, none of which served a proper public purpose,” the paper reported, adding he had to repay more than $9,000 of what he took. 

• Tennessee: The Knox County Governmental Librarian took more than $108,444 in compensation for time that she did not work between 2014 and her resignation in January of this year. This is according to an audit that Tennessee Comptrollers published this month. The Knox County Grand Jury indicted that woman, Ashley Satterfield, on one count of theft over $60,000 and one count of official misconduct.

The Knox County Grand Jury also indicted former financial administrative assistant Charlotte McLawhorn. This is according to the Knoxville-based WATE

“An investigation conducted by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office allegedly revealed that McLawhorn used Knox County Rescue (KCR) credit cards to make personal purchases, including airline tickets, salon expenses, medical bills, vacation rentals, and retail shopping from September 2020 through April 2023, when she left KCR for another job,” the station reported.

“The documents allege that she made purchases using three credit cards formerly assigned to other employees that had been turned over to her and her own issued KCR credit card. In addition, McLawhorn allegedly made personal purchases using KCR’s online Amazon account.”

McLawhorn was indicted on Crimes Act violations over $10,000, forgery over $10,000, and fraudulent use of credit cards, WATE reported.

Special thanks to Warhammer’s Wife for research and for proofreading this story before publication. Follow Warhammer on Twitter @Real_Warhammer