BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A former Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) director has been sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $155,000 in restitution, and also ordered to forfeit more than $150,000 to the United States after pleading guilty to theft.
He has also been sentenced to two years of supervised release following his prison sentence.
Delrice Augustus, 35, was convicted for stealing from DCFS, a federally-funded entity.
Augustus served as the Director of the Bureau of Auditing and Compliance Services for DCFS, a state agency which receives over a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in federal funding annually.
As Director, Augustus reported directly to the Secretary of DCFS and led the office responsible for safeguarding assets against theft and unauthorized use; ensuring that transactions were properly authorized and recorded properly; and ensuring compliance with management policies, as well as federal and state laws and regulations.
Augustus admitted to fraudulently misusing government purchasing cards to obtain items for personal use for himself and others.
Augustus also admitted to misusing and causing others to misuse state travel and gas cards to pay for personal travel and entertainment expenses for himself and others.
He admitted to engaging in a scheme to create and use fraudulent documents to request and receive reimbursement from the State of Louisiana for official travel that did not occur.
"We are pleased that justice has been served for the citizens of the state of Louisiana," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "DCFS has no tolerance for fraud of any kind. I am proud that our internal checks and balances uncovered this elaborate scheme which involved multiple criminals."
U.S. Attorney Green stated: "It is a sad day when someone whose responsibility it is to safeguard and watch over hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funds is caught stealing from the very funds he is entrusted to protect. I commend DCFS leadership on their immediate action when the fraud became known to them. Such swift action and cooperation with law enforcement is imperative to ensuring that the occasional bad actor is addressed. I am grateful to our partners with the Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana Inspector General's Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation who worked seamlessly with our prosecutors to ensure today's just result."
Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street commented: "This sentence should make it clear to anyone thinking about stealing from the taxpayers that they had better be prepared to go to jail for it. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue doing everything we can to make that happen."
"The public demands that we as law enforcement professionals hold those that commit such crimes responsible," stated Colonel Mike Edmonson, Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police. "The Louisiana State Police and all of our law enforcement partners are committed to ensuring that individuals in positions of trust are held to a higher standard."