June 20, 2014

State Auditor Pleads Guilty to Theft from a Federal Program

BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Walt Green announced today another conviction in the ongoing federal and state investigation into corruption at the Bureau of Auditing and Compliance Services for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS leadership has cooperated fully with the investigation and provided valuable assistance.

KANEASHA L. GOSTON, age 38, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty yesterday afternoon before U.S. District Judge James J. Brady to theft from a federally-funded entity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(A). She faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine up to $250,000, forfeiture of the proceeds from the offense, restitution, and up to three years of supervised release following a term of imprisonment. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

GOSTON was employed with DCFS’s Bureau of Auditing and Compliance Services which was responsible for safeguarding assets against theft and unauthorized use; ensuring that transactions were properly authorized and recorded; and ensuring compliances with management policies, as well as federal and state laws and regulations. During the period she was employed with this department, DCFS received over a billion dollars annually in federal funds.

At yesterday’s hearing, GOSTON admitted to submitting fraudulent reimbursement receipts to receive money for official state travel that did not occur. The fake receipts which were submitted were signed both by GOSTON and by DCFS Audit Director, Delrice Augustus, who also recently pled guilty as part of this scheme. When the requested amount of reimbursement would be received, GOSTON and Augustus would split the fraudulent payments. Augustus has been charged and pled guilty for his role in this and related fraudulent conduct.

U.S. Attorney Green stated: “Public corruption will continue to be a priority for this office, particularly when such corruption involves officials responsible for the proper handling of millions in federal funds. In waging this fight, we are encouraged by the active cooperation and assistance provided by the DCFS leadership in this investigation. The vast majority of public servants at DCFS are honest and hardworking individuals who despise corruption. All public servants should be vigilant against corruption and report wrongdoing immediately.”

Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street commented: “Those who abuse positions of trust in order to steal from the taxpayers should know that the risk of criminal prosecution is high. This guilty plea is the latest example of that.”

This matter is being handled by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana Inspector General’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson and Special Assistant United States Attorney J. Brad Casey.