NEW ORLEANS, La. (WDSU) — A New Orleans Police Department officer and a detective with the department were indicted along with five others for stealing more than $100,000 from the United States Army, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Chantelle Davis, an NOPD detective, and NOPD officer Lynea Sanders are accused of stealing from the Army by claiming reimbursement for the performance of military funeral honors ceremonies that never happened.
“We take allegations of this nature very seriously,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said. “We cannot allow the dishonest actions these officer are accused of to jeopardize the trust our citizens have in this department.”
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2000 authorizes military funeral honors for active-duty soldiers, retirees, and veterans.
At a family’s request, eligible persons can receive military funeral honors, including the folding and presenting of the United States flag and the playing of “Taps,” according to a news release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office.
According to the indictment, Christopher O’Connor, a former Army pay technician, submitted fraudulent reimbursement requests for military funeral honors that O’Connor, Davis, Sanders, Leory Daniels Jr., Derrick Branch, Cody Francis and Terrance Howard allegedly performed but had not.
The indictment said each person is accused of taking these amounts from the Army:
- O’Connor, 40, $18,825.83
- Branch, 36, $15,469.30
- Daniels, 45, $11,693.87
- Francis,31, $11,378.27
- Davis, 35, $8,399.65
- Howard, 54, $13,585.92
- Sanders, 41, $22,505.35
All seven are former Army reservists in the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, New Orleans, according to the indictment.
All are residents of New Orleans except for Danielswho lives in Westwego.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of ten 10 years imprisonment, followed by up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and a mandatory $100 special assessment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The United States is seeking full restitution of all the stolen money, approximately $101,858.19.
The NOPD said Friday they were made aware of the federal investigation and began an internal investigation. The officers were placed on Administrative Reassignment Sept. 24th. They will remain on administrative assignment pending the outcome of the internal investigation and the federal trial.