Dozens to be repaid in scam

A 21st Judicial District Court judge has ordered two men to pay $414,484 in restitution after defrauding people in two states, officials with the District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Many of the 33 victims of a scam involving driveway asphalting are elderly, said Le’Anne Malnar, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case with consent of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.

District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said it was unusual to have the entire matter handled in one jurisdiction, but that the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office was able to make the case locally.

As a result, the District Attorney’s Office can “get the ball rolling” in returning money to the people who were victimized in both Louisiana and Texas.

Malner said the District Attorney’s Office was in the process of getting $288,768 of the restitution money back to the victims in multiple parishes and counties of Louisiana and Texas.

Some of the victims paid more than $30,000 for the asphalting work which involved inflated prices and substandard materials, the prosecutor said.

Perrilloux said the victims were receiving 100 percent restitution and the rest of the $414,484 was being divided equally among the agencies involved. In this case, that was the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the 23rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

The two defendants also waived their rights to trucks and other equipment seized by the Livingston Sheriff’s Office. That equipment will be sold at auction and the money will also be divided up among the same agencies, Perrilloux said.

District Judge Ernie Drake sentenced Billy B. Densmore II, of Melissa, Texas, and Derrick Johnson, of Dallas to serve 15 years each with the Louisiana Department of Corrections after they pleaded guilty to racketeering. Their sentences were suspended and both were placed on probation for five years.

Densmore, Johnson and multiple accomplices ran a racketeering scheme in which they identified themselves as the owners and employees of various companies that aren’t registered with the state, officials said.

Densmore had victims make checks payable to his employees in an attempt to keep money from being traced back to him, and the employees cashed the checks and gave most of the money to Densmore, Malner said.

The $414,484 in cash was found on Densmore when he was arrested in Houston on a warrant from Livingston Parish, the prosecutor said.

Perrilloux advised people to be careful about whom they pay for services, ask for references, beware of requests for large advances or down payments and check with law enforcement authorities if they become suspicious of a contractor.