Department of Public works employees arrested for theft and fraud

Joyce Gatlin, Lawrence Smith, Ensley Joseph, Rodney Maxwell (Source: Baton Rouge Police Department)
Joyce Gatlin, Lawrence Smith, Ensley Joseph, Rodney Maxwell (Source: Baton Rouge Police Department)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Employees at the Department of Public Works were arrested Tuesday morning on allegations of theft and payroll fraud.

The four employees have been arrested.

Ensley Joseph, 54, Lawrence Smith, 46, Joyce Gatlin, 46, and Rodney Maxwell, 56, face charges for fuel theft, accused of using the city issued credit card to steal hundreds of dollars worth of fuel to fill up a personal vehicle or fill cans with gas.

Joseph also faces payroll fraud charges.

The four worked for the Department of Public Works for a number of years. Gatlin was a maintenance worker for 13 years, Smith was a maintenance worker for 9 years, Maxwell was a worker and supervisor for 20 years, and Joseph was an enforcement officer for 9 years.

These allegations date back to March 2012. We're told a supervisor saw at least two of the four filling up gas cans, which didn't make sense to the supervisor because they worked in trash collection, so there was no need for them to be getting gas.

Then when the fuel records didn't match up, officials at the Department of Public Works launched an investigation.

According to officials, when DPW officials questioned Joseph about the need for the extra fuel, he claimed that the vehicle was getting extremely low gas mileage.

The vehicle was swapped out for another truck that had been checked and found to have acceptable gas mileage, but Joseph continued to fuel up the extra containers while refueling the vehicle.

During the investigation, a Global Positioning System (GPS) was installed and tracked Joseph's movement. The results showed he was not working some of the time that he claimed on his time sheets.

In addition to the gasoline theft, Joseph was charged with payroll fraud.

The investigation into Joseph's use of fuel triggered additional checks that turned up similar problems by Smith, Maxwell and Gatlin, who were caught also filling up gas cans regularly when they refueled the City-Parish vehicle.

The Baton Rouge Police Department is now handling the case.

All four arrested have been recommended for termination from DPW.

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