Auditing, compliance director charged with federal crime

The director of auditing and compliance for the state’s Department of Children and Family Services has been charged with federal program fraud, U.S. Attorney Walt Green said Wednesday.

Federal authorities claim that between 2010 and last month, Delrice Jermaine Augustus used government money to buy a large number of items for himself, including but not limited to games, iPad digital devices, Dyson vacuums, hotel rooms and fuel.

During the time the alleged fraud took place, Green said, the department received more than $1 billion in federal funds, thus making Augustus eligible for federal prosecution.

Augustus, 34, of Baton Rouge, is on leave from his state job, Green said.

He faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution if convicted as charged.

Augustus also faces state charges.

State Police detectives arrested him last month after he admitted using his assistant’s department credit card to buy more than $25,000 in iPhone and iPad digital devices, DVDs, flat-screen TVs, MacBook computers and an automatic dishwasher he had delivered to his home.

Suzy Sonnier, secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services, said Augustus and his assistant have been placed on paid administrative leave and are prohibited from entering the building or accessing their computers.

Augustus had been audit director since July 2009.

He was booked March 19 into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 38 counts of malfeasance in office, 38 counts of illegal possession of stolen things and one count of felony theft.

Detectives do not consider Augustus’ assistant a suspect.