Hancock County official and family plead guilty to bribery

Roger Ladner

From The Mississippi Link Newswire

Roger Ladner and his wife, Sharon

GULFPORT – A former Hancock County Road Superintendent has pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy in federal court along with his wife and two brothers.

Roger Ladner, 56, his wife, Sharon Frances Ladner, 53, and his brothers Billy Wayne Ladner, 55, and Donald Ray Ladner, 57, all of Kiln, entered that plea in U.S. District Court and will be sentenced to prison on Nov. 14 in Gulfport.

Federal officials said Roger Ladner faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Ladner, who was employed with Hancock County as road superintendent, was given authority by the board of supervisors to award contracts on a ditch cleaning project funded by FEMA. In exchange for awarding the contracts to certain contractors, including two of his brothers, Ladner unlawfully accepted money in the amount of approximately $1.2 million.

The money was seized from Roger Ladner and his wife and will be forfeited to the government.

Ladner’s wife, Sharon Frances Ladner, pled guilty to falsifying documents in connection with a federal investigation by admitting she created a false invoice in the name of her company, Sharon Construction, in an effort to conceal the bribery conspiracy.

She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Roger Ladner’s brothers, Billy Wayne Ladner and Donald Ray Ladner, each pled guilty to theft of government funds.

They both face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate fraud related to Hurricane Katrina,” said James C. Lee, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Those people who choose to illegally obtain FEMA funds will be investigated.”

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