NEW ORLEANS, LA (WAFB) - A former Louisiana maritime instructor faces federal fraud charges for allegedly selling fake training certificates.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported Maurice George, 45, of Napoleonville, was indicted Friday. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and eight counts of wire fraud.
Investigators believe he embezzled almost $335,000 from Beier Radio, LLC between 2007 and 2013 by accepting between $1,200 and $2,000 from students in exchange for issuing certificates for training not done. They added it is believed he accepted more than 200 payments.
"Beier Radio manufactures maritime electronics products including Dynamic Positioning Systems (DPS)," according to a written release from ICE. "DPS is a maritime computer system that automatically maintains a vessel's position and heading by using sensors to adjust a ship's propellers and thrusters. Beier operated a DPS training center in Gray, Louisiana, under the name The Marine Training Institute. Beier provided technical and operational training courses for Beier DPS customers."
"George's greed not only stole money from the company he worked for, it put our nation's critical infrastructure at risk," said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. "Because of these bogus certifications the possibility exists that someone could be injured or killed and we could face any number of potential environmental disasters."
Officials said if convicted on each of the above counts, George could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.