On Tuesday, the Louisiana State Police released the following statement regarding the former Town Clerk of Anacoco.
“After a thorough investigation, the Louisiana State Police Bureau of
Investigations/Alexandria Field Office (LSP AFO) has arrested the former Town Clerk of
Anacoco, 48-year-old Shaunda L. Pridgen. She has been charged with misdemeanor theft (49
counts), felony theft (3 counts), public payroll fraud (22 counts), forgery (58 counts), and
malfeasance in office.
In January 2020, LSP AFO was contacted by village officials of Anacoco to investigate
discrepancies discovered during an internal audit. The investigation revealed that Pridgen
misappropriated approximately $71,000.00 of town funds.
Based on the information obtained, investigators were able to secure an arrest warrant for Pridgen.
Earlier today, she was booked into the Vernon Parish Detention Center.
The Louisiana State Police online reporting system is also available to the public through a
convenient and secure reporting form that is submitted to the appropriate investigators. Citizens
can access the form by visiting http://lsp.org/ and clicking the Suspicious Activity link.”
The Town Clerk allegedly misappropriated funds from 2018-2019.
According to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, a lack of monitoring “resulted in misappropriation of assets and credit card abuse.”
It was noted in the audit report that expenditures in the general fund exceeded budgeted expenditures by 10.59%, and the budget was not amended for the increase.
The following excerpt from the audit report further explains the extent of the fraud:
“The fraud that allegedly occurred was committed by the Town Clerk and consisted of the Clerk taking multiple payroll checks in excess of the Clerk’s salary, making numerous personal charges on the Village’s credit card, and misappropriation of cash payments taken in at the Village office. As of June 30, 2019, $31,293 of these items were misappropriated and $39,912 were misappropriated between July 1, 2019 and the Clerk’s resignation on September 30, 2019 for a total misappropriation of $71,205. It appears that the additional payroll checks began in July 2018, personal credit card charges began in December 2018, cash payments taken in at the office began in August 2018, and all continued through September 2019.”