Ex-State Dept. employee sentenced for embezzling $150k in travel funds for SOUTHCOM events

A former State Department employee was sentenced to more than a year’s imprisonment Dec. 1 for his role in defrauding the department and the Defense Department of $150,000 through his role managing travel allowances for members of Southern Command, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina showed.

Roudy Pierre-Louis, 49, a Haitian citizen, was working at the Embassy of Haiti as the sole budget analyst from 2015 to August 2018 when he carried out a fraud scheme to receive cash advances for travel expenses like per diem, lodging and air fare, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Pierre-Louis worked for the embassy’s Security Coordination Office, and was responsible for managing all lines of accounting for State and Defense Department individuals travelling for SOUTHCOM and other regional events.

As Pierre-Louis was also the SCO’s designated Money Holder, he was authorized to receive cash on behalf of individuals who were not granted the full access to the embassy needed in order to receive the cash advances allowed for travel expenses.

Through his dual role as budget analyst and money holder, he was then able to submit falsified travel vouchers and supporting documents with forged signatures from approving Defense Department officials, giving himself cash advances under the names of other Haitian nationals.

While they were unaware of Pierre-Louis’s scheme, the State Department released cash funds to Pierre-Louis, who would then have the Defense Department reimburse the funds in order to maintain the embassy’s “cash cage” and to cover his tracks, court documents reveal.

Over the three-year period, Pierre-Louis managed to embezzle at least $156,950 from his wire fraud scheme.

Pierre-Louis pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel to 12 months and one day in federal prison with a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. He was also ordered to pay full restitution and a fine totaling $157,050.00.

Pierre-Louis will not be allowed parole as part of his sentencing in the federal court system.

The investigation was conducted by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General’s Charleston, South Carolina Field Office, and the Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Allessandra Stewart prosecuted.

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