Louisiana State Senator Pleads Guilty in Money Laundering Case

October 13, 2008

Louisiana State Sen. Derrick Shepherd has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in a case involving alleged illegal operation of an insurance business.

Shepherd, D-Marrero, entered his plea Oct. 10 before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier. The federal case accused Shepherd, who was indicted in April, of helping Gwendolyn Joseph Moyo launder $141,000 in checks written to her companies whose accounts had been frozen by the insurance department. Charges against Shepherd included mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The Marrero Democrat allegedly deposited construction bond premiums in his bank accounts for Moyo.

Moyo allegedly laundered roughly $2 million to conceal her illegal operation of an insurance business. She has federal convictions dating back to 1989 that barred her from running an insurance business.

A man described by prosecutors as a “straw man” in the case pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in September. Sixty-seven-year-old James Zoucha of Oceanside, Calif., faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine following his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. His sentencing is scheduled for January.

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