Two Orleans Parish sheriff’s employees charged in bid-rigging scheme

Two former Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office employees were charged with a bid-rigging scheme Tuesday in federal court.

John P. Sens, who formerly served as director of purchasing for the Sheriff’s Office, and Col. Gerard J. Hoffman, who formerly was in charge of the maintenance department at Orleans Parish Prison, are accused of a scheme that began in 2007 and involved two others identified only as Businessman A and Businessman B. The businessmen submitted bids for Sheriff’s Office work, but also submitted phony bids that were higher, ensuring that they would receive the contracts, according to a bill of information filed by prosecutors in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.

Prosecutors claim the conspiracy ran from 2007 through the end of 2011 and steered millions in work to the two businessmen.

Sens was paid off, prosecutors allege, with five “Blue Dog’’ prints or paintings, a pool that was built at his Waveland, Miss., home and about $30,000 in cash. Hoffman is accused of receiving gifts and maintenance work at properties he owned.