Ex-N.O. court bookkeeper charged with theft

 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man who served as chief financial officer for New Orleans Traffic Court has been indicted on charges that he overbilled the city and used court funds to pay for personal expenses.

Friday's 12-count federal indictment charges 40-year-old Vandale Thomas, of Prairieville, with theft, money laundering and illegally structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements.

The traffic court hired Thomas and his firm, Thomas & Thomas Accounting Services LLC, in November 2008 to provide accounting and bookkeeping services.

The indictment accuses Thomas of overbilling the city for his services by more than $680,000 between 2009 and 2011. Prosecutors say he also illegally obtained money from the court to buy more than $10,000 in chips from a New Orleans casino and to make a down payment on an $80,000 Bentley GT Coupe.

"This indictment represents another example of our region's coordinated efforts to root out public corruption," New Orleans-based U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr. said in a statement. "We will hold accountable anyone who allegedly defrauds our government."

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