GULFPORT, MS—Former Hancock County Road Superintendent Roger Joe Ladner, 56, pled guilty in federal court today along with his wife Sharon Frances Ladner, 53, and his brothers Billy Wayne Ladner, 55, and Donald Ray Ladner, 57, all of Kiln, Mississippi, in connection with a bribery conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Gregory K. Davis, FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge James C. Lee with IRS-Criminal Investigation, and Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering.
Roger Ladner pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Following Hurricane Katrina, Ladner, who was employed with Hancock County as road superintendent, was given authority by the board of supervisors to award contracts on a ditch cleaning project funded by FEMA. In exchange for awarding the contracts to certain contractors, including two of his brothers, Ladner unlawfully accepted money in the amount of approximately $1.2 million. The money was seized from Roger Ladner and his wife and will be forfeited to the government.
Ladner’s wife, Sharon Frances Ladner, pled guilty to falsifying documents in connection with a federal investigation by admitting she created a false invoice in the name of her company, Sharon Construction, in an effort to conceal the bribery conspiracy. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Roger Ladner’s brothers, Billy Wayne Ladner and Donald Ray Ladner, each pled guilty to theft of government funds. They both face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate fraud related to Hurricane Katrina,” said James C. Lee, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Those people who choose to illegally obtain FEMA funds will be investigated.”
All four defendants will be sentenced by U.S. District Sul Ozerden on November 14, 2012, in Gulfport.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruth Morgan.