Bell trial set for April 22

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

The Natchez Democrat

FERRIDAY, La. – The trial of former Ferriday Housing Authority

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Director Charles Bell is now set to begin April 22 in U.S. District

Court in Alexandria, according the attorney prosecuting the case.

&uot;It was originally scheduled for Jan. 4, but (the defending

attorney) filed a motion to continue it,&uot; said Assistant

U.S. Attorney David Hathaway.

Bell could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

On Oct. 1, a federal grand jury indicted Bell on four counts

of theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funding.

If convicted, Bell could face up to 10 years in prison and

a $250,000 fine on each count.

The indictment stemmed from a June report released by the Louisiana

legislative auditor alleging that Bell had misappropriated more

than $218,169 in public funds from 1996 through 2000.

As a result of those charges, Bell was fired Nov. 14 by the

authority’s Board of Commissioners.

Authority Secretary Netrina England is now serving as interim

executive director.

The authority began advertising Wednesday for applications

for the director’s position, and deadline for submitting applications

is Feb. 14.

The indictment against Bell charged she &uot;fraudulently

obtained property valued at $165,220 or more (and owned or controlled

by) the FHA, and converted it to his use.&uot;