Four former LSU Eunice employees, including a department head, will be charged on multiple accounts of theft and forgery.
15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson told The Eunice News that Judy Guillory, Shawana Prudhomme, Carra Sergeant and Dr. Marvette Thomas will be charged as the result of “an investigation into allegations that the four engaged in forging false invoices and then taking the money used to pay them for personal gain.”
The amount of allegedly ill-gotten gain has not been disclosed.
LSU Eunice officials said Tuesday that Thomas, Sergeant and Guillory retired from the school in February 2012 when the discovery of alleged forgery and theft surfaced. After a followup investigation, the school filed a criminal complaint at the start of Summer 2012.
Thomas was the Director of Academic Assistance Programs at the time of the alleged scheme.
Van Reed, director of public relations, said the stolen money was taken from two federal grants which is why the FBI was involved with an investigation into the matter.
Reed said one of the federal grants was for Upward Bound – a program that benefits high school students from low-income families. He said the other federal grant funded the Student Support Service at the university.
Reed said the school has reimbursed both grants already with hopes of being reimbursed back through the action of the Harson.
“Louisiana State University Eunice discovered discrepancies in invoices being processed through the Office of Academic Assistance,” said Reed in a statement issued on Tuesday. “The university immediately notified LSU System auditors, legislative auditors, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Attorney General’s Office – Western District of Louisiana.”
Reed said that LSUE began an internal investigation and put preventive procedures in place.
“We have full confidence in the thoroughness of the investigation and the corrective actions we’ve taken,” he said. “The university has assisted auditors, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Education Inspector’s General’s Office with their investigations. All finding have been turned over to Acadia Parish District Attorney Mike Harson’s Office.”
Harson said that at this time there are no scheduled court dates for the four. However, he said, an arraignment should be scheduled in the next 45 days.