EAST FELICIANA PARISH MAN CHARGED WITH WIRE FRAUD
Published 9:30 am Sunday, December 26, 2021
NEW ORLEANS – CLARENCE “BILLY” BURKETTE, age 53, and a resident of Slaughter, Louisiana, was indicted on December 16, 2021, by a federal grand jury for multiple counts of wire fraud (Title 18, United States Code 1343), announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.
As charged in the indictment, BURKETTE defrauded the Town of Pearl River in connection with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program (FEMA), which provides grant programs for state, territorial, tribal, and local governments, and certain types of non-profits and which is administered in Louisiana by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). BURKETTE, who contracted to provide the Town of Pearl River disaster assistance services, misrepresented, among other things, the amount of public assistance grant funds for which the Town of Pearl River was eligible. BURKETTE further misrepresented to the Town of Pearl River that his own fees would be reimbursed by FEMA. BURKETTE invoiced the Town of Pearl River approximately $629,761.25 for services he claimed to have provided related to the Disaster Assistance Agreement for which BURKETTE received a total of approximately $598,196.25 from the Town of Pearl River.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, BURKETTE faces a maximum sentence of thirty (30) years in prison, up to five (5) years of supervised release, up to a $1,000,000 fine, and a mandatory special assessment fee, for each count.
U.S. Attorney Evans commended the special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and District Attorney’s Office, 22nd Judicial District for their handling of the matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andre Lagarde.