Chamico President and Employees Charged with Mail Fraud and Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 17, 2014|
NEW ORLEANS—Charles “Chuck” Mizell, Jr., age 44, a resident of Bogalusa, Louisiana; James Creel, age 48, a resident of Bogalusa, Louisiana; William Darryl King, age 47, a resident of Angie, Louisiana; Tenille Nielson, age 34, a resident of Franklinton, Louisiana; Jacqueline Myers, age 27, a resident of Franklinton; Louisiana, Jerry Athey, age 56, a resident of Bogalusa, Louisiana; David Lowe, age 48, a resident of Bogalusa, Louisiana; Terry Castilow, age 48, a resident of Bogalusa, Louisiana; and Roger Nadeau, age 51, a resident of Linn, Missouri, were charged today by a grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Louisiana with mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud for an alleged scheme to defraud the Louisiana Workforce Commission of unemployment benefits, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr.
According to the indictment, Charles “Chuck” Mizell, Jr., the president of Chamico, Inc., a Bogalusa construction company, and Terry Castilow, William Darryl King, David Lowe, James Creel, Jerry Athey, Tenille Nielson, Jacqueline Myers, and Roger Nadeau, who were Chamico employees, conspired to defraud the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) of money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises and by mailing and causing to be mailed through the United States Postal Service fraudulent unemployment benefit claim forms for the purpose of obtaining unemployment benefits to which they were not entitled. Specifically, at the time Castilow, King, Lowe, Creel, Athey, Nielson, Myers, and Nadeau applied for unemployment benefits and made weekly representations to LWC that they were unemployed and not getting paid, Mizell, Jr. employed them at Chamico. Mizell, Jr. had Chamico checks cashed and used the cash to pay Castilow, King, Lowe, Creel, Athey, Nielson, Myers, and Nadeau the difference in their salaries after LWC paid them fraudulent unemployment benefits. Mizell, Jr. confirmed the misrepresentations his employees made to the LWC on the Notice of Claim Filed and Notice of Base Period Employer forms mailed to Chamico by the LWC stating that Castilow, King, Lowe, Creel, Athey, Nielson, Myers, and Nadeau were not employed by Chamico because of lack of work. As a result, Mizell, Jr. did not have to pay the employees their full salaries, thereby saving Chamico and himself money. In addition to being charged with conspiracy, Mizell, Jr., Castilow, Athey, Creel, Lowe, Nielson, and Nadeau are charged with substantive mail fraud counts based on the mailing of the employer notice forms that fraudulently confirmed to LWC that Athey, Creel, Lowe, Nielson, and Nadeau were unemployed due to lack of work.
United States Attorney Polite reiterated that the charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy count, and 20 years in prison on each of the mail fraud counts. The defendants also face a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release as to each count.
The case was investigated by the Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily K. Greenfield.