Update: Sheriff’s Office victim of $42K-plus theft

Published 5:07 pm Thursday, August 28, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — Over $42,000 has been stolen from the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Mike Tregre said one local woman is being held responsible.

Rachel Marie Bourgeois, 43, of Fairway Drive in LaPlace, was arrested at her home Thursday on a judicial court ordered arrest warrant, charged with theft by systematic practices, forgery, filing or maintaining false public records and public payroll fraud.

She remains in custody in lieu of a $200,000 bond.

Tregre said St. John detectives and the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General started a joint investigation July 2 concerning the suspected long-running theft by Bourgeois, a Sheriff’s Office contract employee.

Bourgeois has performed contract work for the office since June 2008, transcribing statements taken by detectives of the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division.

“The investigation revealed that Bourgeois altered invoices; doubled billed the Sheriff’s Office for transcript work; and submitted fraudulent invoices, resulting in being paid multiple times for the same transcript,” a release from the Sheriff’s Office said. “Documents of evidence of the investigation revealed that Bourgeois illegally collected $42,534 between January 2013 and June 2014. The total dollar amount stolen by Bourgeois and the period of the thefts are presently unknown pending further investigation of Sheriff’s Office records.”

Tregre said members of the finance department caught Bourgeois’ actions, and better measures are in place now to update long-standing practices that made her actions possible. He said a possible motive for her actions may be a suspected chemical dependency problem.

The investigation does not point to any other suspects, Tregre said, and no other arrests concerning the matter are expected at this time.