Locals charged in federal court

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 16, 2011



LAPLACE – A LaPlace couple is facing multiple charges of conspiracy and filing false income tax returns after they allegedly concocted a filing scheme that netted them more than $34,000, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

A federal grand jury recently indicted Shondrell Campbell, 33, and her husband Derek Campbell, 34, and charged them with 11 counts of conspiracy and aiding and assisting in making and subscribing false tax returns.

According to the release, authorities say the Campbells, who operate Unlimited Tax Service in LaPlace, conspired to buy the identities of individuals who generally do not earn enough to file income tax returns. Both defendants are also charged with two counts of filing tax returns with fraudulent information and stealing the refunds paid as a result of the fraudulent returns. Shondrell Campbell is charged in eight additional counts of filing tax returns with fraudulent information and stealing the refunds paid as a result of the fraudulent returns.

According to the indictment, during a period between Jan. 1, 2004, and April 15, 2005, the Campbells filed fraudulent personal tax returns and collected refunds in the amount of $5,200 by claiming deductions and wages they knew they were not eligible to receive. The indictment also alleges that Derek Campbell approached nine individuals to “purchase” their names, dates of birth and social security numbers so his wife could file false returns under their names. The returns brought in $29,287 in refunds that were deposited into Shondrell Campbell’s bank account.

If convicted, Derek Campbell faces a total possible sentence of 11 years in prison, a $750,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and restitution for refunds collected. Shondrell Campbell faces a possible maximum sentence of 32 years in prison, “millions in fines,” three years of supervised release and restitution for refunds collected.

Meanwhile a Luling woman was sentenced to nearly four years in prison and ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution after she pleaded guilty to bilking several local companies out of more than $1 million in payroll.

U.S. District Judge L.C. Feldman sentenced Charlotte Troxler to 46 months in prison for bank fraud, according to a release from Letten’s office. Troxler, 46, is also ordered to serve five years of supervised release and pay $1.06 million in restitution to three local companies, including two local car dealerships and various business operations owned by Saints owner Tom Benson.

According to court documents, from 1985 through March 2006, Troxler was employed as a financial assistant for Benson Properties, Benson Football LLC and Benson of Louisiana. During that time, Troxler stole about $1 million by creating unauthorized payees on company checks. Troxler employed a similar scheme while working as a financial assistant at Ray Brandt Automotive, where she stole $170,550, and Leson Chevrolet, where she stole $166,578. Troxler was employed at the dealerships from November 2008 through November 2009.

When she was arrested in 2009, Troxler admitted to stealing the funds and depositing the stolen checks into her personal bank account at First American Bank. She pleaded guilty on Nov. 10 of last year.