NEW ORLEANS – On February 27, a federal jury rendered a guilty verdict to a former Jefferson Parish Justice of the Peace, for fraud.
U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph announced that 40-year-old Patrick Hale Dejean was charged with 13 counts of mail fraud, and three counts of making false statement to a bank.
Officials say Dejean used his position to illegally obtain wage garnishments and loans, from May 2009 through August 2016.
Evidence presented at trial showed that Dejean defrauded creditors and debtors by diverting money from a Second Justice Court bank account for his personal use, made false statements to a bank to improperly borrow money on behalf of the court, which he later spent on himself.
“Public corruption by our elected officials will not be tolerated in Louisiana,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph. “In this case, the Justice of the Peace targeted some of the most vulnerable members of our society and stole their hard earned wages, defrauded banks, and abused the trust placed in him by the public. “This verdict should serve as a warning to other Louisiana public officials who may intend to use elected office to line their own pockets.”
The jury also found that in 2012 and 2013, Dejean applied for bank loans on behalf of the court despite knowing that the court was prohibited by Louisiana law from borrowing money. He then used the money for personal expenses.
Dejean faces up to 20 years in prison for each mail and wire fraud count and up to 30 years in prison for each count related to making a false statement to a bank.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana because the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana is recused from the case.
The FBI, Louisiana Legislative Auditor, New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission, and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph and Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Luke Walker and David J. Ayo prosecuted the case.