Second state auditor admits to stealing from state agency

A second auditor in the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has admitted stealing money from the federally funded agency.

Kaneasha Goston, charged May 30 by federal prosecutors, pleaded guilty Thursday and will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James Brady at a later date.

Goston, 38, of Baton Rouge, faces up to 10 years in prison as well as fines and restitution, said U.S. Attorney Walt Green on Friday.

Former DCFS Auditing Director Delrice Augustus, 34, of Baton Rouge, Goston’s immediate supervisor, pleaded guilty May 28 to theft from a federally funded entity and is awaiting sentencing. Goston pleaded guilty to the same charge.

A third DCFS auditor — Corey Polk, 33, also of Baton Rouge — was charged June 12 by federal prosecutors with diverting federal funds for personal items and leisure expenses.

Prosecutors put the value of the fraud committed by Augustus, who resigned May 23, at slightly more than $150,000.

Augustus admitted he stole the money from DCFS since 2010 by using an assistant’s state credit card to buy personal items — an installed dishwasher, movies, televisions, mobile devices, cameras, gaming devices, wireless audio systems and vacuums — and also misused a state travel card to buy hotel suites in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and the NBA All-Star Game.

Detectives do not consider Augustus’ assistant a suspect.

Augustus created and used fraudulent documents to request and receive reimbursement from the state for official travel that did not occur, according to his plea agreement. The documents reflected that Goston and Polk had incurred official travel expenses.

Goston and Polk would sign the fraudulent reimbursement requests as the requesting employees, and Augustus would sign as the approving supervisor. The state would pay the requested amount to Goston and Polk, who would split the proceeds with Augustus, his plea agreement states.

DCFS receives more than $1 billion in federal funds every year.

Green has said the federal and state investigation is continuing and that DCFS leadership has fully cooperated with the probe.