According to court documents, between January 2009 through January 2011, Robert, 51, of Church Point, assisted by Felix, 52, of Lafayette, embezzled and converted to her own use, approximately $195,778.65 from the Church Point Housing Authority (CPHA). As executive director, Robert was responsible for overseeing the day to day operation of the CPHA. Her duties included submitting invoices and writing checks for outstanding bills, contractor work, and employee payroll. Robert was also responsible for transcribing the CPHA board meetings and submitting them to the local paper for publication. The defendant altered board meeting minutes to reflect a board approved raise of $7,500, wrote numerous checks to individuals and/or companies, sometimes without their knowledge, for work that was never done, submitted false invoices to verify these expenses, forged signatures on backs of checks, cashed the checks and converted the money for her personal use.
Robert would write checks to Felix, have him endorse the checks, cash them and then return a large portion of the checks to her. Felix performed odd jobs at HUD for which he was paid by Robert. The checks to Felix amounted to $107,592.78. Felix cashed the checks for Robert, but received little or no benefit from the $107,592.78. During interviews, Robert and Felix both acknowledged the wrongfulness of their conduct. Robert further admitted to agents that her actions were in response to a gambling problem which began in late 2009.
U.S. Attorney Finley stated, “These two individuals, motivated by greed, stole money belonging to the citizens of Church Point. We hope this case sends a message that anyone who participates in this type of activity will be prosecuted and face serious consequences.”
At sentencing, Robert and Felix face a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years, a fine up to $250,000.00, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years.
Felix Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Louisiana State Police, Bureau of Investigations, Criminal Investigative Division, Region 2 Detectives, Lafayette Region.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Howard C. Parker.