Criminal Justice News

Friday, June 15, 2012

Woman Sentenced for Role in Home Elevation Program Bribery

NEW ORLEANS—Brianna LaFrance, age 31, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was sentenced to two years’ probation by the U.S. District Court Judge Jane Triche Milazzo after admitting she conspired to bribe a mitigation analyst in the state’s home elevation program, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

LaFrance pled guilty in February to a one count bill of information charging her with conspiracy to bribe an agent of an organization receiving federal funds. According to court documents, LAFRANCE assisted Rickey Davis in soliciting the assistance of Wanda Acker Williams, a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program analyst, to mine the state’s Office of Community Development/Disaster Recovery Unit database of homeowners eligible for federal funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is tasked with providing eligible homeowners with funding, up to $100,000 per homeowner, to elevate their houses to prevent future catastrophic loss from flooding. Williams received money from Davis in exchange for lists of names of eligible homeowners whom Davis could target to enter home elevation contracts. LaFrance facilitated two of the multiple exchanges between Davis and Williams.

The case is being investigated by Department of Homeland Security-OIG, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Emily K. Greenfield and Matthew Coman.

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