AG suggests not prosecuting former LDWF employees over missing fishing equipment

“Insufficient evidence” against Eric Newman and Monique Savoy, Landry says

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office is not recommending prosecuting two former employees of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries who were accused of keeping thousands of dollars of fishing and sports equipment in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill, according to media reports.

A spokeswoman for Landry on Tuesday told KATC-TV the office isn’t suggesting that Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore pursue charges against Eric Newman and Monique Savoy, who left the LDWF in 2014.

“Our office thoroughly investigated this complaint and determined there is currently insufficient evidence for a successful prosecution,” Ruth Wisher said in a statement.

Last June, an audit report from Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said auditors looking for more than $50,000 in missing fishing equipment believed they found many of the items with the couple, who have since married and own a charter fishing company in Venice.

“The evidence seems to suggest that they never did anything wrong and that they were good employees of Wildlife and Fisheries,” the couple’s lawyer, Vincent Wynne, said Tuesday in the report.

The missing equipment, including rods and reels, high-end coolers, a paddle board and more, was purchased by the LDWF with funds from BP after the oil spill to supposedly perform seafood safety testing.

The couple had items totaling more than $19,000 that matched descriptions of the missing equipment in their possession or offered for sale online, the audit said. The report said the workers may have violated state law in keeping the state-owned equipment for personal use, according to KATC.

Wynne said the audit “was absolutely replete with falsities, misrepresentations and inaccuracies throughout.”

In a written response to the earlier audit, Wynne had said there wasn’t a way to track which items may have broken or been lost during fish testing.

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