Thursday, September 08, 2005

My, my! Is this a pattern I see developing?

A Department of Defense press release from November, 2004. Via LGF.
Shreveport, Louisiana . . . A federal grand jury has returned two separate indictments charging three members of the State Military Department with offenses related to the obstruction of an audit of the use of federal funds for flood mitigation activities throughout Louisiana, United States Attorney Donald W. Washington announced today.

Two of the individuals charged, MICHAEL C. APPE, 51, of Mandeville, Louisiana, and MICHAEL L. BROWN, 61, of St. Francisville, Louisiana, are senior employees of the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Both APPE and BROWN are charged with conspiracy to obstruct a federal audit; BROWN is additionally charged with making a false statement.

The Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is designed to fund mitigation projects to prevent future flood losses or flood claims made upon the National Flood Insurance Program. BROWN was responsible for overall management the program in Louisiana; APPE was responsible for managing employees who perform fiscal transactions regarding these funds.

The indictment alleges that during an audit of the program being conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Office of Inspector General, a State Military Department employee realized that $175,000 in expenditures of federal monies was improper in that the money was not used for purposes authorized by the federal program and would therefore have to be re-paid to the federal government. This employee notified APPE, who in turn directed the employee to provide false documents to the federal auditors.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that APPE directed an employee to contact an assistant to BROWN and have them prepare a false, backdated memo to make it appear that the expenditures were proper. The false document was created and was subsequently signed by BROWN. APPE and BROWN then sent the false, backdated memo to federal auditors. The indictment alleges that BROWN told federal auditors that he signed the document in May 2000, when in fact he knew he had signed the document in January 2004.
In addition, one would think that having 13% of what is supposed to be a professional police force walk off the job in the face of a crisis may also make Louisiana leadership a little suspect.

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