COVINGTON (WGNO) — Former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff was sentenced to federal prison following a hearing on Wednesday, April 6.
While Strain was previously tried and convicted for sexual abuse allegations in February, this time the charges were for a 2019 kickback scheme involving an inmate work-release program.
On Wednesday, it was decided the former sheriff would serve 10 years in federal prison, plus a $10,000 fine.
Strain, his attorney Billy Gibbens, and federal prosecutors entered the courtroom at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. The case was presided by New Orleans-based Judge Jane Milazzo.
In court, Gibbens argued Strain came into the trial “with a lot of baggage,” eluding to the former sheriff’s February conviction. He later stated he “understands that Jack Strain’s popularity is somewhere between Charles Manson and Vladimir Putin.”
Strain’s counsel argued Strain should receive the same sentence as two other co-conspirators, former Sheriff’s Deputies Skip Kee and David Hanson. Keen and Hanson were both sentenced to 50 months, or just over 4 years, of prison last October.
Prosecutors disagreed, arguing Strain deserved the full 120 months. One later proclaimed “He was the elected official. He held the power. He held the office.”
Following Stain’s sentencing, Milazzo commented on the case, saying:
“Let me be clear. He is being sentenced in this court for this case, and this is a serious case.”
The 16-count indictment was announced in August 2019.
In December, Strain pled guilty to federal corruption charges of using his authority as Sheriff to award the multi-million-dollar public contract for the program. After reviewing more than 10,000 pages of documents, detectives concluded the money had been steered back to Strain, his close friends, and family members.
According to investigators, two of Strain’s friends, Keen and Hanson, were put in charge of the work-release program, and a family member was given a yearly salary of $30,000 for a “no show” job.
Meanwhile, Strain was also on trial for sex crimes dating back to the 1970s that continued up to and during his time as sheriff. On February 22, he was sentenced to 4 consecutive life terms.
Strain is scheduled to be back in court on July 13 at 9:30 a.m. for a restitution hearing. 10 days later, there will be a final briefing.