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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Ghost employee who collected taxpayer money despite no record of working now identified

2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago Thursday, July 23 2020 Jul 23, 2020 July 23, 2020 11:40 AM July 23, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

NEW ROADS- The WBRZ Investigative Unit obtained unredacted documents Wednesday through a public records request identifying the ghost employee as Joseph Randy Guidroz.

Guidroz left the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office when outgoing Sheriff Bud Torres vacated office too.

Tuesday night, the WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed Guidroz collected a salary for 12 years, but the new Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff and his administration couldn't find any history of Guidroz performing any work.

In addition to being a full time "intelligence officer" for the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office, the WBRZ Investigative Unit also found Guidroz is an elected official. He is a Justice of the Peace in the parish.

The state's dual office holding laws may pose big problems.

Louisiana Revised Statute 42:63 states, "No person holding an elective office in the government of this state shall at the same time hold another elective office, a full-time appointive office, or employment in the government of this state or in the government of a political subdivision thereof."

Questions are being raised about whether Guidroz broke the law. An Attorney General Opinion issued in 1991 addresses whether a justice of the peace can work as a full-time deputy sheriff. "Holding a full-time position as deputy sheriff would be prohibited by RS 42:63," the opinion reads.

Wednesday, additional records obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit showed Guidroz collected routine checks and was eligible for all benefits being a full-time employee. Even though there is no record that he did anything to earn the salary, he continued getting regular checks every two weeks totaling $1,226.65. His annual salary with the sheriff's office was around $42,000.

"This particular individual was making a lot of money," Chief Deputy Brad Joffrion said. "More money than a detective and a patrolman and I don't think it's fair."

Records obtained by the Investigative Unit also show the extraordinary fuel purchases Guidroz was making on the taxpayers' dime. Nearly all of the charges over the past year were made outside of the parish.

The records show from June 2019 until June of this year, Guidroz purchased 3,568 gallons of gas at a total of $7,544. The title on the vehicle shows when it was purchased it only had ten miles on it. However, when it was turned in after being driven for 18 months, it had 110,000 miles on it.

"It is under investigation at this present time," Joffrion said.

As state investigators continue looking into this, Joffrion said this new administration will not tolerate bad behavior.

"We are here to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money," Joffrion said. "We certainly don't condone this behavior and activity. I hate that we have to address this."

When the WBRZ Investigative Unit reached out to Guidroz Tuesday, he said he would not be answering any questions. He referred all questions to his attorney, but we did not hear back from him.

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