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Federal Judge Sentences Two Major Orleans Parish School Board Probe Figures

U.S. Attorney’s Office March 05, 2009
  • Eastern District of Louisiana (504) 680-3000

Two major figures in the wide ranging Orleans Parish School Board investigation were sentenced today in federal court by U. S. District Judge Martin L. C. Feldman, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.

CHARLES SWANSON, age 64, a resident of New Orleans and a former insurance broker who did business with the Orleans Parish Public School Board was sentenced to five (5) years probation, with six (6) months home confinement. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. SWANSON cooperated with the Government in this investigation and the Court was made aware of that cooperation.

GLENN DAVIS, age 56, a resident of New Orleans and former insurance broker who did business with the Orleans Parish Public School Board, was sentenced to thirty (30) months in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. Judge Feldman also ordered that the defendant serve three (3) years of supervised release following the term of imprisonment during which time the defendant will be under federal supervision and risks an additional term of imprisonment should she violate any terms of her supervised release.

The probe into corruption in the Orleans Parish Public School system was a unique partnership among several federal and local law enforcement agencies including FBI, IRS, and Department of Education, Inspector General. Prior to the building being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the working group was physically located on the Orleans Parish School Board campus on the West Bank of New Orleans. The law enforcement presence was the only time in history that the investigative agencies working group took up residence at the entity being investigated.

CHARLES SWANSON was indicted on June 29, 2006 for Hobbs Act conspiracy and Hobbs Act violations in connection with bribing former Orleans Parish School Board Manager Carl Coleman. GLENN DAVIS was indicted on the same date for the Hobbs Act conspiracy and violations with the Coleman bribes and for three counts of income tax evasion and three counts of making false statements to the IRS. SWANSON pled guilty to the Hobbs Act conspiracy and violation, DAVIS pled guilty to those charges as well as tax evasion. Another defendant, Lillian Smith-Haydel was charged in a separate charging document with the Coleman bribes. She pled guilty and is set for sentencing on April 15, 2009. Coleman was sentenced to serve twenty-two (22) months imprisonment, $366,883.92 restitution, and three (3) years supervised release on October 29, 2008 by United States District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon for his role in the corruption.

The school board probe has to date netted 27 convictions either by guilty plea or jury verdict.

In August 1997, and continuing through 2003, Haydel, Swanson, and Davis conspired to pay cash kickbacks to Coleman in order for the insurance companies they represented to continue to maintain insurance contracts with the Orleans Parish School Board. Haydel, Swanson, and Davis maintained the contracts and continued to receive consulting fees or commissions and Coleman received several thousand dollars from Haydel, Swanson, and Davis. During the course of the conspiracy, Haydel, Swanson and Davis, met covertly in parking lots, coffee houses, offices and other places to discuss kickback payments to Coleman. Haydel and Davis obtained cash which they tendered to Swanson in order to make payments to Coleman.

DAVIS admitted that during the calendar year 2000, he had received unreported taxable income in the sum of $158,877.90; and owed to the United States of America an income tax of $42,550.00.

Michael J. De Palma, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation stated:

"We are pleased with today's sentence. Taxes are essential to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of our government, and we take our duty of protecting the public's confidence in our tax system very seriously. Special Agents of IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to use our financial investigative expertise to work with the United States Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to ferret out those who defraud the public."

This investigation was conducted by Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, and Inspectors with the Department of Education Inspector General’s Office. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Carter K. D. Guice, Jr. and Dall Kammer. The investigation remains active and ongoing.

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