BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) employee was arrested Wednesday on theft and malfeasance charges.
Louisiana State Police reported Delrice Augustus, 34, of Baton Rouge, is accused of using a LaCarte purchasing card to buy thousands of dollars worth of electronics and other items.
"I am shocked and saddened that a senior employee with DCFS would violate my trust, but more importantly the public trust through his alleged criminal actions," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier.
Investigators said Augustus illegally purchased DVDs, flat screen TVs, iPads, iPhones, MacBooks and a dishwasher. They said during questioning he admitted to making fraudulent charges for personal use on his assistant's assigned LaCarte card. They added Augustus also stated he knew it was illegal to do so.
LSP reported a search of his home turned up about $7,500 worth of the items purchased on the card and about $18,000 in cash was seized as evidence.
"It is hard to fathom how an audit director at a large state agency could engage in this sort of blatant theft, but that is exactly what happened here," said Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street. "This case is particularly shocking because of the position of high trust that Mr. Augustus holds at DCFS. We will continue to work with State Police and other partners in law enforcement to relentlessly pursue those who abuse the public trust and hold them criminally accountable wherever possible."
Augustus was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of felony theft in excess of $500, illegal possession of stolen things (38 counts) and malfeasance in office (38 counts). Bond has not been set.
Troopers said DCFS officials contacted Louisiana State Police and the Office of State Inspector General to report while conducting an audit, they found what looked like several fraudulent purchases on a LaCarte card. According to reports, DCFS initiated a review and the findings led them to Augustus.
"As soon as Secretary Sonnier contacted me I dispatched Detectives to DCFS to investigate the alleged criminal misconduct," said Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of LSP. "I am thankful to her staff as well as the investigators with the Office of the Inspector General for their support and cooperation throughout the investigation. It is incumbent upon all of us to work together in maintaining public trust and the integrity of our departments."
More information will be provide later in the day.