Where'd my traffic fine go? Feds lodge charge against ex-WBR sheriff's employee
BATON ROUGE — A series of reports by the WBRZ Investigative Unit last year first exposed allegations against the woman responsible for processing traffic ticket payments in West Baton Rouge Parish. Now Mandy Miller is a convicted felon.
The U.S. Attorney's office announced Thursday that Miller pleaded guilty to a charge of "federal program theft." According to prosecutors, she stole $150,000 from an agency that also receives funding from the federal government, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
It's expected that the federal government will require Miller to make restitution to West Baton Rouge Parish taxpayers. Typically the offense can include a fine of up to $250,000, but because Miller stole so much she could be fined around $300,000.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Miller's prison term could be reduced. Prosecutors said she was entitled to credits in a pre-sentencing report for taking responsibility for her actions and not requiring the government to take the case against her to trial.
Miller appeared in court May 24; her guilty plea was announced Thursday in a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office in Baton Rouge. At the hearing, Chief District Judge Shelly D. Dick accepted the guilty plea but deferred acceptance of the plea agreement between Miller and prosecutors. A pre-sentence investigation report is pending.
Prosecutors said Miller's scheme began in 2018 and that, to make the operation work, she falsified journal entries.
As part of her job duties, Miller was responsible for receiving traffic ticket payments made in-person or by mail. Rather than put the money in the parish bank account, Miller would divert money for her own use and cover her tracks by logging into parish accounting systems with similar but slightly different names.
Prosecutors said that as "mandy" she would work in the ticket management system, but she would use "Mandy" with a capital M in the parish accounting system, the prosecutors said.
A bill of information filed previously said that in April 2022, Miller listed receiving $19,928 in cash but only deposited $9,984.
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