A grand jury has indicted Iberia Parish Clerk of Court Michael Thibodeaux on 14 criminal counts, according to an indictment handed up on Friday.
Thibodeaux faces one count of racketeering, three counts of theft over $25,000, two counts of filing or maintaining public records, seven counts of malfeasance in office and one count of perjury.
According to the indictment, the case is related to his alleged theft of advance court costs that were either due back to people who filed in court or to the state as unclaimed property. The alleged crimes happened during various spans of time from 1998 until July 2017, according to the indictment.
Thibodeaux is further accused of perjury for allegedly making a false statement in a judicial proceeding, of allegedly filing or altering public records, of malfeasance for all of the alleged accusations and of racketeering for the “enterprise” the grand jury found involved these alleged acts.
An October 2016 audit found that under Thibodeaux’s leadership, the clerk’s office held on to more than $300,000 in court fees that were supposed to be returned to court plaintiffs and defendants. More than $200,000 of that was used on salaries and other expenses for his office, auditors found.