LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office has released its report on the gift card program run through the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office under now-retired District Attorney John DeRosier.
Through the program, some defendants were able to pay their way out of community service by donating gift cards and money to the District Attorneys Community Assistance Program.
DeRosier retired at the end of his sixth term.
The Legislative Auditor summarized its report:
“Investigative auditors found a former district attorney transferred $556,598 to a nonprofit foundation he formed using funds from pretrial diversion participants and defendants on court-ordered misdemeanor probation who were allowed to buy out community service hours. In addition, auditors found some district attorney employees did foundation work during office hours, and one employee said she performed campaign activities for the district attorney during work hours. The auditors also found that the foundation paid $2,815 for items the district attorney won at a fundraising auction for another organization – including a security camera system that was installed at the district attorney’s home. The auditors found, too, that the district attorney allowed individuals on court-ordered misdemeanor probation to buy out their community service, even though state law says only the court may modify, change, or discharge the conditions of probation. Additionally, auditors found the district attorney failed to disclose his position as a foundation officer and board member on his 2015, 2016, and 2017 annual financial disclosure statements and failed to include the revenue from the buyout of community service hours on the district attorney’s office financial statements for fiscal years 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.”
Current District Attorney Stephen Dwight released the following statement:
“We are aware of the Legislative Auditor’s findings concerning the gift card program implemented under former District Attorney John DeRosier. This program was discontinued prior to District Attorney Stephen Dwight taking office in January 2021. DA Dwight has no plans to renew this program. Anything further regarding these findings will be deferred to the Attorney General’s Office.”