3 State Troopers Suspended Over Payroll Fraud Investigation
In a bombshell announcement made earlier today, the Louisiana State Police cancelled a program known as Local Agency Compensated Enforcement (LACE) amid concerns some State Troopers had been getting paid for hours they didn't work. State Troopers Eric Curlee, Daryl Thomas, and Byron Sims were also placed on administrative leave due to the criminal investigation over alleged payroll fraud.
The LACE program allows local District Attorneys to contract off-duty troopers for ticket writing duties in certain jurisdictions around the state. Last year, KTBS reported that the program netted millions of dollars in DeSoto Parish alone. The troopers writing the tickets would report their hours and get paid accordingly, then the DA's would reimburse the state for their time. The problem is - a few bad apples were padding their time-sheets with, and subsequently getting paid for, hours they didn't work.
After an investigative television news feature called "State Of Unrest" from New Orleans station WVUE-TV (Fox 8 News) revealed undercover video of officers possibly claiming hours they didn't work, state police superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves ordered the suspension of the program and the troopers.
A criminal investigation has also been launched to determine if any misconduct has occurred. According to the Advocate, records show that Daryl Thomas, one of the suspended troopers, brought home more than $80,000 in overtime back in 2008.