Turk File

Former OHA employee gets probation in bid-rigging scheme

by Leslie Turk

Citing 76-year-old Garnette Thomas' age and cooperation, federal judge says no jail time.

Walter Guillory got 28 months in prison, and Kendall Anderson is awaiting his fate for their role in a bid-rigging scheme that went on at the Opelousas Housing Authority from 2007-2009. The former, who was the executive director of the housing agency at the time, and the latter, a local contractor, played key roles in the fabrication of paperwork to make it appear as though projects went out for competitive bids when in fact all of the contracts were awarded to Anderson's company, Anderson Iron Works.

Another former employee, Garnette Thomas, assisted in the fraudulent activity, but a federal judge decided Friday that she will not do jail time.

Thomas, 76, was sentenced to two years of probation by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote, The Advocate reported:

Thomas faced 10 to 16 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote said she opted for probation because of Thomas' age, her cooperation with investigators and her lack of a criminal record.

Foote also fined Thomas $5,000, ordering that it be paid within 10 days.

Thomas made only a brief statement before the sentencing: "Your honor, I'm very sorry."

Read the Advocate story here and more on Guillory's sentencing here.