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Louisiana tax official facing fraud, malfeasance charges

The investigation began last year as summer was just beginning. It recently reached its conclusion with the filing of criminal charges for malfeasance in office and payroll fraud against Louisiana Tax Commission administrator Charles K. Abels III.

A statement from the Louisiana State Police said Abels is accused of billing the state for work he did not perform, and then accepting payment for it. The 51-year-old is also charged with misuse of a state rental vehicle for which he allegedly “submitted unauthorized fuel reimbursement requests,” a news account states.

The Shreveport Times article states that Abels was taken into custody at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Bond in this white collar crime case was set at $16,300, the paper said.

The Tax Commission chairman said Abels has been suspended since late last year. He said complaints about the administrator had been made to the governor’s office and Louisiana’s Commissioner of Administration.

Chairman Lawrence Chehardy said “a number of improprieties” have been identified by investigators, but declined to give details. He said the investigation is continuing and that the commission has made policy and personnel changes as a result of the findings so far.

The Tax Commission oversees the local tax assessors and the handling taxpayer appeals.

Chehardy added, "the Louisiana Tax Commission remains fully operational and continues to satisfactorily perform its duties and service to the general public.”

Those facing criminal charges should decline to speak to investigators or prosecutors until they have spoken with a Lake Charles criminal defense attorney devoted to protection of rights and freedom.

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