A state district judge today sentenced former Florida Parishes Recording Secretary Brenda Bickford to eight years hard labor at the Louisiana Department of Corrections for stealing nearly $2 million from the Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice Commission, announced Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. Judge Jerome Winsburg suspended an additional five year term, but Bickford will be on probation for five years after her release from prison. She was also ordered to pay $1,825,000 in restitution.
Bickford, 61, of Hammond, served as the commission’s recording secretary for 16 years before she was arrested in March of last year by the Attorney General’s Office. In June, Bickford pleaded guilty as charged to two counts of felony theft for her role in embezzling approximately $1.9 million from the commission between 2001 and 2010.
Bickford wrote checks from the Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice Commission and addressed them to a fictitious company she created. An audit of the commission by the Office of Financial Institutions prompted an internal investigation, resulting in Bickford’s arrest.
Assistant Attorneys General David Caldwell and Butch Wilson prosecuted the case.