ALEXANDRIA, La. — The Rapides Parish Police Jury has hired a law firm to try to recover money they say was stolen from the District Attorney’s Office by an employee.

The police jury, which is the governing authority for the parish, agreed on Monday to hire Corkern, Crews, Guillet & Johnson, LLC to sue Beard and Travelers Insurance, The Town Talk (http://townta.lk/2cu3dE8) reported.

The case stems from the arrest of Margaruette Beard, who is accused of stealing more than $1.3 million from the District Attorney’s Office while she was a bookkeeper there. She was arrested in January on charges of felony theft, first-degree injuring of public records and malfeasance in office.

The jury hopes to collect on an insurance claim against the Employee Dishonest Policy issued to the jury by the insurance company. Police jury president Craig Smith said the jury was supposed to receive the money that went missing.

District Attorney Phillip Terrell said his office would normally represent the police jury on litigation but it will not in this case due to a potential conflict of interest.

“We believe we have a fiduciary duty to any agency that is owed money, so therefore we thought there might be a potential conflict of interest,” he said.

The office filed a lawsuit against the insurance company in May, seeking more than $1.3 million.


Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com