SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Caddo Parish Sheriff's Deputies have arrested four contractors and three city inspectors who work with the City of Shreveport's Department of Community Development.
The investigation centered around the city's Office of Community Development and its Neighborhood Revitalization/Limited Repair Program.
Investigators started making the arrests around 7:30 Monday morning.
Here is a list of those arrested and their charges as provided by the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office.
Santana Brown, 34 - arrested on three counts of contracting without a license and one count of contractor fraud for not completing work he was paid to do on a house on Myrtle.
According to the release from the sheriff's office, "Supervisors in the Community Development Office allowed Brown and Alex to work in the Limited Repair Program even though their applications were never approved or disapproved by the city."
According to the release from the sheriff's office, "All are accused of knowingly signing off on incomplete or inadequate work by the contractors so they could receive payment before the jobs were finished."
All of the charges are felonies because the victims were over 60 or disabled.
The sheriff's office says over the past 18 months, the contractors received more than $1.5M from the city of Shreveport.
Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator said the arrests came after a six-month investigation by the sheriff's office, the Caddo District Attorney's Office and the Louisiana State Police.
During the investigation, Prator said authorities found several cases of unfinished or inadequate repairs in homes occupied by elderly victims, some of them blind, disabled or ill. Prator said city inspectors approved the repairs so the contractors could get their money from the city.
The follow up inspections by authorities found cases of home insulation that was not installed, electrical wiring work that was unfinished or never even started, and air conditioning equipment that was never installed. Prator said in one case. tags were taken off of an old air conditioning unit and replaced with new tags, but the unit itself was never replaced.
At a press conference on the arrests, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover said the misuse of public funds will not be tolerated. He said the city's Housing Rehabilitation Program is temporarily suspended to ensure every aspect of program is functioning as intended.
The mayor also said the three inspectors who were arrested are now on paid administrative leave, pending an administrative review of whether they can be placed on leave without pay.