Turk File

Conspiracy Contained

by Patrick Flanagan

A state appeals court puts the kibosh on an oil service company's attempt to prove collusion in an embezzlement case.

A Lafayette Parish oil services company has hit a road block - the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal - in its bid to recoup $1.7 million embezzled by a former and now-deceased office manager over a seven-year period. The company, Holloway Drilling Equipment, contends that the former employee, Danielle Bodin Guidroz, conspired - in addition to having an alleged sexual affair - with a certified public accountant, Eric Broussard, who was employed at the time by Holloway's accounting firm, Inzerella, Feldman, and Pourciau and was seeking a new civil trial in the matter.

But the appeals court sided with a Lafayette district court judge in ruling that Holloway presented new evidence seeking to increase the number of defendants from whom it sought recompense too late. Holloway initially filed a civil suit only against Guidroz but later amended its suit to include the Inzerella firm and Broussard as defendants.

In effect, although Holloway may have sufficient evidence that the embezzlement comprised a wider conspiracy involving more than one person, it didn't follow the rules and submit timely evidence.

Guidroz was arrested in 2010 after Holloway officials realized she was milking the company. She pleaded guilty in federal court in 2011 to one count of wire fraud and was facing up to 20 years behind bars, confessing that she used the ill-gotten gains to start a business - Butterfly Bodies Boutique and Spa on Kaliste Saloom Road - take numerous trips, purchase a home and several vehicles, a motorcycle, jewelry and other personal items. However, just days before her sentencing early this year, Guidroz committed suicide.

In 2011, after filing a civil suit and initial trial in the matter, Holloway's legal team obtained a sworn statement from Guidroz in which the disgraced former employee claimed that not only did she and accountant Broussard conspire together to rip off the company, but that the accounting firm's president, Jeff Inzerella, was aware of the subterfuge. Inzerella denied this claim.

Holloway's legal team filed a petition for a new trial based on Guidroz's sworn statement about the conspiracy, but state District Court Judge Durwood Conque denied the request, ruling in effect that there was no reason Holloway couldn't have obtained the Guidroz statement in time for the original trial.

Neither Inzerella nor Broussard, who later left the Inzerella firm to take a job at another Lafayette accounting firm, have been charged in the Holloway embezzlement.

Attorneys for both the plaintiff and defendants in the appeal failed to return calls before press time seeking comment about the case.