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Sulphur man accused of stealing over $300k from local nonprofit

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 1:55 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A Sulphur man was arrested Thursday after allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars while serving as treasurer for a nonprofit organization, officials say.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives first received reports of the theft on June 7, 2021, said CPSO spokesperson Kayla Vincent.

Detectives were advised of multiple discrepancies on the organization’s bank statements and expense reports while Richard J. Cole Sr. was serving as treasurer, Vincent said. Detectives were also informed Cole wrote over $100,000 worth of checks to himself from the nonprofit account but was unable to provide documentation on what the checks were written for.

During further investigation, detectives received information showing numerous payments on personal credit cards and accounts belonging to Cole were paid for with money from the nonprofit. The investigation revealed that Cole stole over $367,000 since January 2015, Vincent said.

“Generally speaking, he had bank accounts and was transferring money from one account to another,” Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Commander Gene Pittman said.

Richard J. Cole Sr. was arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center on Thursday, Jan. 20. He was charged with theft over $25,000, Vincent said.

Cole was released on a $75,000 released on a recognizance bond by Judge Tony Fazzio.

CPSO Detective John Melton is the lead investigator on this case.

This isn’t the first time the Cole family has been in the public spotlight. His son, former Calcasieu Parish Tax Assessor Richard Cole Jr. resigned following accusations of misappropriating funds. He pleaded guilty to two counts of felony malfeasance in office and was sentenced to probation.

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