Broussard pleads guilty to conspiracy and theft charges in payroll fraud scheme
Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard has pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and theft and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Sentencing has been scheduled for February 25.
Broussard entered his pleas in a payroll fraud scheme involving his ex-wife, Karen Parker. Broussard had been charged with conspiring to fraudulently award a lucrative parish job to Parker.
Parker had the job title of paralegal supervisor and was paid more than $323,000 over six years, though prosecutors say she wasn't qualified for the position and wasn't performing paralegal duties.
When entering the federal courthouse on Tuesday morning, Broussard told reporters, "At 23, I came into politics as a dragonslayer. At 63-years-old, I'm going out as the dragon."
Broussard was originally charged with 27 different counts and pleaded guilty Tuesday to two of them.
At trial, he would have faced testimony from his ex-wife and a former parish attorney who both pleaded guilty.
There is speculation that Broussard will now offer assistance to the federal government in a separate investigation into the award of a lucrative landfill contract during his administration.
At a press conference outside the courthouse following the hearing, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said this case is about fraud, waste and abuse.
"It is about the abuse of power and authority by individuals who wield it, it's about using government for personal gain and I think most importantly it's about our zero tolerance for any corruption," Letten said.
The head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, Rafael Goyeneche, said, "This case is a perfect example of what can be done if people step forward and provide the type of information that allows the FBI, IRS and U.S. attorney's office to hold public officials accountable that have betrayed the public trust."