BATON ROUGE, La. – The recent indictment of leaders of a New Orleans nonprofit organization demonstrates that the state could control budget costs with a little effort, said State Treasurer John Kennedy.

“It was called to the state’s attention more than a year ago that the administrators of Alternatives Living Inc. were using taxpayer money for vacations, fine dining, luxury cars and entertainment events,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “After the U.S. Attorney’s Office stepped in with its indictments, the state finally got around to terminating this organization’s Medicaid contract.”

Indictments were handed down Friday against Rickey Roberson, Ada Craige-Roberson and Melanie Duplechain. All three, who are related, ran Alternatives Living Inc., which was formed to help people with disabilities. The indictments accuse the three of misusing federal funds from 2009 to July 2015. According to the indictments, the three family members spent taxpayer money intended for disabled Louisianians on the following personal expenses: $9,770 on restaurant meals, $6,000 on college tuition, $17,900 on “prohibited fundraisers,” $5,600 on Saints tickets, $600 at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, and $3,000 on cruises.

“A year and a half ago, DHH insisted it couldn’t find any evidence that Alternatives Living had committed fraud despite news reports of the lavish personal spending. DHH chose to do nothing. It was clear something was rotten at Alternatives Living all the way back in 2013 when it emerged the organization wasn’t paying its taxes,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “You have to ask yourself how many other people are living the high life on the taxpayers’ tab simply because the state isn’t being vigilant. Is it any wonder that we have budget problems?”

Michelle Millhollon
(225) 342-0012