July 14 – A Baton Rouge accountant who plundered the New Orleans fire department pension fund to cover gambling, home improvement and living expenses was sentenced to 41 months in prison on Tuesday, the prosecutor’s office said American Duane Evans.
Wayne Triche, 72, pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud and tax evasion charges. U.S. District Judge Greg Guidry sentenced Triche to 41 months in prison. He must also pay $937,659 in restitution to the New Orleans Firefighters Retirement and Relief Fund (NOFPRF) and $329,895 to the Internal Revenue Service as part of the sentence.
From 2009 to 2017, Triche embezzled approximately $937,659 from the fund, which is separate from the city and firefighters and is intended to administer survivor, disability and retirement benefits to participating firefighters. Triche also lied about his income, not claiming the misappropriated funds on his taxes from 2013 to 2016, which is how the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the IRS caught him in a joint investigation.
In 2003, NOFPRF gave Triche and his business partner, George Russell, at American Pension Consultants, $5 million to invest in life insurance policies. Russell died in 2007. Triche pocketed nearly $1 million in profits, court documents show, funneling the money to bank accounts he controlled 34 times between 2013 and 2016.
“Mr. Wayne Cheating perpetuated an elaborate scheme motivated by his insatiable greed and blatant disregard for the enormous damage inflicted on NOFPRF and its members,” James E. Dorsey, an IRS Special Agent, said in a statement. Press.
Cheating’s fraudulent scheme represents the latest development in a series of financial missteps to plague NOFPRF. Recent risky investment deals include a luxury golf course and a Cayman Islands hedge fund, which went bankrupt. As of March, the fund remained in the red and had yet to deliver on its promises to the city written in a 2015 court settlement.
Neither Triche nor attorney Louis Robein, who represents New Orleans firefighters, returned requests for comment.
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