State police can’t explain French Quarter spending, audit says

State police can’t explain French Quarter spending, audit says

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A legislative audit released Wednesday said Louisiana State Police and the Department of Public Safety did not provide support on how the agencies spent $2.4 million for security in the New Orleans area.

“Management explained that it prepared a single journal voucher to cover fuel costs equal to the amount budgeted from the New Orleans Public Safety Fund. This was done as a mechanism to replace other state dollars that were used to pay unreimbursed expenses incurred prior to the funding from the New Orleans Public Safety Fund being made available,” the audit said.

The auditor said without supporting documentation, the office could not determine that the funds spent on fuel were used for its intended purposes.

The audit also highlights the arrest of four state troopers. The charges against those troopers were the result of a Lee Zurik Investigation - State of Unrest.

That series used hundreds of hours of video surveillance that revealed troopers were being paid for work they did not perform. According to the audit, the troopers were arrested because of falsified time sheets related to the local area compensated enforcement program known as the LACE ticket writing program.

The audit also states three employees of the state office of motor vehicles for using $98,000 in customer payments for personal use. The arrests happened in 2017.

The auditor’s report also says a worker for a public tag agency contracting with the motor vehicles agency was arrested for computer fraud and filing or keeping false records.

In a written response, OMV Commissioner Karen St. Germain says an internal investigation found the problem and her office is working with state police to prosecute the individuals.

The wide-ranging audit reviewed the state’s Department of Public Safety.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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