Two former OPP workers charged in bribe case - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Two former OPP workers charged in bribe case

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New Orleans, La. -

Two former high-ranking members of the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office are charged in bills of information with a bribery scheme.

The documents name former Director of Purchasing John Sens and former Director of Maintenance Gerard Hoffman, Jr.

The government claims Sens, who recently retired, conspired with Hoffman and two businessmen, simply named Businessmen A and B, to rig the bid process so that Businessmen A and B would be named contractors for various projects. The government alleges the businessmen would submit real bids for projects in the names of their companies, then also submit phony bids in the names of other companies. The phony bids would be for a higher amount, so it would appear the real bids were the cheapest option.

The bills of information say both Sens and Hoffman participated in this scheme. Millions of dollars in work was awarded to both businessmen. In return, Sens received $30,000 in cash, a pool was built at his home in Waveland, Mississippi, courtesy of Businessman A, and he received five of George Rodrigue's renowned "Blue Dog" paintings. Hoffman received a storage container and trailer, worth approximately $5,000, and Businessman B paid for electrical work to be done at Hoffman's house.

Bills of information typically indicate the person named is cooperating with the government.

Brian Capitelli, the attorney for John Sens, tells FOX 8, "We'll be entering a plea and pursuant to our plea agreement we'll be cooperating with the federal government."

As for how Sens and Hoffman may be punished, FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti explains, "I don't think these people are going to be looking at gigantic penalties. I know they're probably first offenders, from what I know. So they're going to come to a resolution and hopefully put this behind them."

Sheriff Marlin Gusman has not commented publicly about Tuesday's charges.  But the Ehrhardt Group, which handles media relations for the OPSO, released the following statement from Sheriff Gusman Tuesday evening:

The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office has a zero tolerance for illegal activity by any deputy or employee. The Sheriff's Office has cooperated with every request made of us by the authorities in this case from the beginning. We will continue to cooperate fully.

John Sens was reassigned in June 2012 and resigned last Friday. Gerard Hoffman is no longer affiliated with the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office, having left last July.

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