Texas man given 20-year sentence for Hurricane Ida fraud

Published 3:50 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

HAHNVILLE – Andrew Mitchell, 44, pled guilty on August 31 before ad hoc Judge Kirk A. Vaughn.

Mitchell was arrested on Jan. 12, 2023 for allegations that he defrauded four St. Charles Parish residents of insurance money following Hurricane Ida. He has remained in custody since his arrest. Mitchell represented himself to be a public insurance adjuster and agreed to negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of victims of storm damage. Instead, he kept the insurance proceeds for himself. Mitchell stole more than $200,000 from his four victims.

Mitchell pled guilty to five counts of forgery for which he received the maximum 10-year sentence on each count. He also pled guilty to two counts of theft over $5,000, for which he received the maximum 10-year sentence on each count. He also pled guilty to two counts of theft over $25,000, for which he received the maximum 20-year sentence on each count. The sentences were all ordered to be served concurrently with the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

In addition to the prison term, the defendant agreed to forfeit almost $39,000 to the victims in this case, which had been deposited into the registry of the court and which will now be disbursed to the victims on a pro rata basis. Mr. Mitchell also agreed to a money judgment in favor of each victim for the full remaining balance of the restitution owed them.

Detective Keith Bergeron of the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud Division investigated the case against Mitchell. Mitchell was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Mark F. Lopez.

“The case against Andrew Mitchell was a complex matter spanning multiple jurisdictions with multiple victims. LSP Detective Bergeron used his outstanding investigatory skills to present to my office a thorough and complete case file detailing Mitchell’s criminal conduct. Assistant District Attorney Mark F. Lopez and DA Investigator John Cornwell have been relentless in their pursuit of a just conclusion to this case. Today Lopez secured an appropriate resolution for the victims and the people of St. Charles Parish,” said District Attorney Joel T. Chaisson, II.

“Hurricane Ida decimated St. Charles Parish. Mitchell could have been a force for good in our community post-Ida, but he chose to victimize our residents all over again for his own financial gain. My office will not tolerate the exploitation of our residents and we will continue to use all of the tools available to us to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law.”