° empty

Former Ridgecrest town clerk pleads to charges

VIDALIA — Former Ridgecrest Town Clerk Dana DeLaughter was sentenced to pay $58,544 Wednesday in restitution to the town after she pleaded guilty to seven counts including malfeasance in office and theft of town funds.

Seventh Judicial District Court Judge Glen Strong sentenced DeLaughter Monday to a 15-year suspended prison sentence, five years of probation and $3,500 in fines for felony theft, three counts of malfeasance in office, false accounting, filing false records and misdemeanor theft.

A trial for DeLaughter and former mayor Kevin Graham, who is also accused of similar charges, was scheduled to start Monday, but District Attorney Brad Burget said it was delayed when DeLaughter’s attorney mentioned she might be willing to enter a plea.

“I’m happy with the plea, but I felt and still feel that incarceration was the appropriate sentence,” Burget said. “She’s not an elected official, but she is a public official who is in charge of the public’s money and who violated the public’s trust.

“But I respect the judge’s decision.”

An audit conducted by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor revealed that DeLaughter may have violated state law by failing to deposit $56,679 in utility payments, intentionally overstating $27,814 of utility collections to the town’s board of aldermen and issuing herself three extra payroll checks totaling $1,865.

The audit also stated that Graham used state grant funds to purchase a water pump and accessories for personal use totaling $4,055.

A grand jury indicted DeLaughter on seven charges and Graham on eight charges in June.

In early November, Graham resigned and DeLaughter was placed on administrative leave before being terminated by the board of aldermen in January.

Graham is charged with four counts of malfeasance in office, false accounting, filing false public record, theft greater than $500 and unauthorized use of a movable.

Burget said Graham’s trial is scheduled May 13.

News

CPSO rules missing person case homicide

News

Adams County supervisors to review ambulance proposals Wednesday

News

Burnley Cook to withdraw from Ward 6 alderman race

News

Viewfinder: Cathedral student starts local health fair

News

Man arrested for Magnolia Grill burglary

News

Photo gallery: Jewish community celebrates Passover with Seder dinner

News

NASD graduation rate up, but still lags behind state average

News

The Dart: Vidalia man studies, takes care of family, too

News

Natchez Early College Academy Fun Day to help raise money for trip to Washington, D.C.

News

Parent University set for Thursday

News

Sunday focus: Voters to determine a quarter million in salaries May 10

News

Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office investigates body found in Monterey

News

County seeking ambulance proposals

News

‘Suzi’s Girls’ remember lasting legacy left by coach

News

Natchez man killed in Ferriday wreck Friday night

News

Photo gallery: The bluff has gone to the DockDogs

News

Tactics in case surrounding alleged attack of parish DA questioned

News

Student charged in verbal assault of teacher

News

City back in court to determine damages in Roundstone case

News

Report: Cuts put school district $1.5M short

News

Faith and Family: R.V.I.C.S. helps Children’s Home

News

Photo gallery: Chalk artist inspired by God creates artwork at First Baptist Church

News

Man previously arrested on rape charges, charged with another sex crime

News

Natchez-Adams School District to pay $127K to former principal