NEW ORLEANS—Thomas G. Wilkinson, age 54, a resident of Jefferson Parish, pled guilty today to a superseding bill of information that charged him with conspiracy in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to documents filed in federal court, after Aaron Broussard’s election on October 4, 2003, but prior to his taking office as the Jefferson Parish president, Broussard, Wilkinson, Tim Whitmer, and another high-ranking Jefferson Parish official had a meeting to discuss creating a position for Broussard’s girlfriend, Karen Parker. Broussard wanted to secure a position for Parker prior to taking office because he knew there would be increased scrutiny as a result of their romantic relationship.
As a result of this meeting called by Broussard, Karen Parker was given the position of paralegal supervisor in Wilkinson’s Parish Attorney’s Office. Parker’s previous resignation was rescinded, and she was given a $48,000 yearly salary despite being unqualified and uncertified for the paralegal position. Within a few months, Parker was moved to the ID Management Department at the East Bank Regional Library, where she remained for over six years. Despite her transfer to ID Management, Parker retained her position and the higher salary of paralegal supervisor until her dismissal on or about February 5, 2010.
According to documents filed in federal court, Broussard, Wilkinson, and Whitmer all knew that Karen Parker was not performing the job of a paralegal supervisor, and yet they all allowed her to continue receiving her salary as a paralegal supervisor knowing that to do so was a fraud and a theft of taxpayer dollars.
Wilkinson faces a maximum penalty of not more than five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing is set for February 25, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. before Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head.
The case was investigated by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division and were assisted by the Metropolitan Crime Commission.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Klebba, Matt Chester, and Daniel Friel.