4 New Orleans levee cops accused of fraud in off-duty work

Four levee district police officers in New Orleans have been accused of defrauding customers who had paid them for off-duty security work.

All four are accused of leaving early or not showing up for security shifts at a yacht club and a subdivision, yet still billing for the work, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East confirmed the arrests and said it is cooperating with investigators. All four have been suspended with pay, regional director Kelli Chandler said in an email Thursday to The Associated Press.

She did not respond directly to a query about whether the officers have attorneys who could speak for them, but did write, “I have no additional information.”

The investigation of Jerald Holmes, 33, accused of nearly $1,400 in phony billings, began after a colleague returned from an off-duty patrol and found that Holmes had signed in for part of the same shift, according to WVUE-TV, which first reported that he had been arrested and three other officers were being investigated.

Also arrested Tuesday were Sgt. Noel Sanders, 51, Joynal Abdin, 44, and Benjamin Wilson, 43, the newspaper reported.

Holmes, a special investigator for the levee board and a former Baton Rouge police officer and detective for the Housing Authority of New Orleans, was arrested on charges of public payroll fraud, theft and malfeasance in office, the TV station reported.

Sanders and Abdin were arrested on charges of suspicion of public payroll fraud, theft under $1,000, and malfeasance in office. Sanders allegedly was paid for three yacht club shifts that he spent at home, and Abdin is accused of quickly leaving shifts in the neighborhood.

The investigation involved the use of surveillance and crime cameras last month, according to arrest reports.

WVUE reported in May that the FBI was investigating similar payroll fraud allegations involving at least 11 New Orleans Police Department officers.

Holmes was released on $16,500 bond and the other three on their own recognizance. All four have served less than six years on the force, the newspaper reported.

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Republished with permission from the Associated Press.




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