Former Louisiana water system manager pleads guilty to fraud

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to defrauding the water system he once managed.

Over 13 months starting in Feburary 2018, Donald Messick, 50, of Coushatta took nearly $58,500 from the Fairview Union Water System in rural Red River Parish, Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook said in a news release Wednesday,

Messick pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of fraud and is to be sentenced Nov. 18. The maximum penalty is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutors said Messick used water system money to buy fuel, vehicle parts, tools, and other equipment for himself as well as items for relatives. He also sent the system’s money to a woman in Florida and enrolled a relative who wasn’t entitled to coverage in the system’s health insurance program. The water system paid premiums and the insurance company paid $19,700 in claims for that person, the news release said.

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