NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans Police detective and an officer, along with five others, have been indicted for stealing more than $100,000 from the U.S. Army.
Detective Chantelle Davis, 35, Officer Lynea Sanders, 41, and five members of the U.S. Army Reserve were indicted Friday for allegedly claiming reimbursements for their service at military funeral honors ceremonies that never happened, the U. S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
According to the indictment, Christopher O’Connor, 40, who is a former Army pay technician, submitted the fraudulent reimbursement claims on behalf of Davis, Sanders, Leroy Daniels Jr., 45, Derrick Branch, 36, Cody Francis, 31, and Terrance Howard, 54. All are charged with conspiring to commit theft of government funds and theft of government funds. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. It was unknown if any of them have attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
A foreign national and U.S. soldier were the first to be indicted in a joint investigation of a marriage fraud ring involving Fort Bragg soldiers.
“We take allegations of this nature very seriously,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said. “We cannot allow the dishonest actions these officers are accused of to jeopardize the trust our citizens have in this department.”
Both officers have been on administrative reassignment since Sept. 24, the police department said in a statement.
“As per NOPD protocol, the officers will remain on administrative assignment pending the outcome of the internal investigation and the federal trial,” the statement said.
Federal agents have seized more than 20 vehicles and the money from 10 bank accounts belonging to married U.S. Army veterans in Texas, saying the pair used personal information stolen from soldiers to defraud the military out of as much as $11 million.
All seven defendants are former Army reservists in the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, New Orleans, according to the indictment. All are residents of New Orleans except for Daniels who lives in Westwego.
The Army is seeking reimbursement of the full $101,858 allegedly stolen as part of the conspiracy.