The charges of Thibodeaux just add to the evidence that the entire judicial system is corrupt.
A state grand jury on Friday indicted Iberia Parish Clerk of Court Michael Thibodeaux on 14 corruption-related counts, including racketeering, theft, malfeasance, falsifying public records and perjury.
The indictment aligns with a 2016 Louisiana Legislative Auditor investigative report finding similar abuse within Thibodeaux's office.
The allegations date from 1998, with the most recent being on Thursday, when Thibodeaux is accused of providing false testimony in a judicial proceeding.
Allegations include misuse of a Clerk of Court salary fund, failure to refund deposits for advance costs and failure to remit unclaimed property to the state treasury. Two of the three theft counts involve amounts of more than $25,000.
One count cites 12,137 instances of filing or maintaining false public records over nearly 12 years ending in October 2016. Another count cites 334 such instances in a single month, April 2012.
The April 2012 allegation matches a Legislative Auditor's finding that Thibodeaux's office reissued 334 outstanding checks totaling $47,611 from the advance deposit fund that initially did not clear the bank.
Those checks were issued from the advance deposit fund to the Clerk's salary fund. Litigants pay advance court costs in the deposit fund, and are to receive refunds on unused deposits.
Thibodeaux's office improperly transferred $218,021 in advance deposits to the salary fund over three years ending in May 2016, according to the Legislative Auditor. Another $96,924 in advance deposits had been improperly retained and should have been refunded.
Sheri Morris, a private lawyer representing the Clerk's Office, said in a response to the Legislative Auditor's findings that "there was absolutely no intent on the part of anyone acting on behalf of the Clerk of Court's Office to remove, destroy or conceal any record."
Thibodeaux received $236,011 in salary and benefits last year, according the most recent annual audit report for his office.
Thibodeaux was not in his office Friday afternoon and did not return a call. Attempts to reach him on a personal line were unsuccessful.
A call to the District Attorney’s Office of the 16th Judicial District was not returned.
Source: The Acadiana Advocate