Two Indicted In Corps Of Engineers Levee Scheme
Third man pled guilty in 2007
NEW ORLEANS (May 22, 2008) -- A former contract employee of the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers and a subcontractor were indicted in connection with a $16 million hurricane protection
project for the reconstruction of the Lake Cataouatche Levee, south of New Orleans, a project that
will improve an eight mile section of the levee system. The section is the lowest part of a stretch
that protects Jefferson and St. Charles parishes.
Durwanda Elizabeth Morgan Heinrich and Kern Carver Bernard Wilson were indicted by a federal
grand jury in New Orleans, and each was charged with one count of conspiring to commit bribery.
Heinrich was also charged with two counts of offering a bribe to a public official and Wilson was
also charged with one count of demanding and agreeing to accept a bribe as a public official.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and maximum fine of not
more than three times the amount of the bribe. The bribery charges each carry a maximum penalty
of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of not more than three times the amount of the
bribe. If convicted, Heinrich and Wilson may also be disqualified from holding any government job.
The indictment charged that the conspiracy took place from August to October 2006, and centers
on an attempt by Heinrich, Wilson, and a third man - Raul Miranda, a former contract employee of
the Corps of Engineers, to steer a dirt, sand and gravel subcontract on the levee project to Heinrich
in return for Heinrich using part of the proceeds from the subcontract to pay bribes to Wilson and
Miranda for helping.
In August 2007, Miranda, of Houston, pleaded guilty to agreeing to accept a bribe for the Lake
Cataouatche Levee project.
The indictment is the result of an investigation initiated following a report by the Corps of Engineers
to the Army Criminal Investigation Command of potential fraud.
"The critically important task of rebuilding the levee system in the New Orleans area must not be
vulnerable to corruption," said Asst. Attorney General Alice Fisher. "The Hurricane Katrina Fraud
Task Force will prosecute those who choose illegal financial gain for themselves at the expense of
the community. The Department of Justice will continue to protect the money that goes into
rebuilding New Orleans from fraud and corruption."
U.S.Attorney Jim Letten said, "This office and our law enforcement partners will continue to stand
guard over this region, its people and our rebuilding process."
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice