Month: July 2019

Kenner man sentenced to 40 years for two Metairie kidnapping attempts

A Jefferson Parish judge on Monday (July 22) sentenced Joseph Picard to 40 years in prison for trying to kidnap a teenage girl and a woman from Metairie streets on June 15, 2017.

Following a two-day trial last month, Picard, 42, of Kenner, was convicted as charged by a Jefferson Parish jury of two counts of attempted second-degree kidnapping. The jury deliberated about 35 minutes in finding Picard guilty. The jury was unanimous on both counts

On Monday, after hearing impact testimony from the 28-year-old victim, Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Picard to 20 years for each second-degree kidnapping count. He ran the sentences consecutively. In explaining his sentencing decision, Judge Sullivan noted the undue risk that Picard would commit more crimes and that he is in need of correctional treatment.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

Nakesia Washington pleads guilty to stealing from 2018 Essence Festival tourists

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (July 3) gave Nakesia Washington a 15-year sentence after she admitted to stealing money from almost 100 people who paid her to arrange their travel packages to New Orleans’ Essence Festival last year.

Washington, 42, of Harvey, who was the sole owner of OBL Travel in Marrero, pleaded guilty as charged to theft of U.S. currency valued at $25,000 or greater from 98 victims listed in the amended bill of information the state filed in court Wednesday. All the victims live out of state; a dozen of them provided letters that were read aloud in court as impact testimony in which they expressed anger over how Washington ruined their festival plans and how they suffered financially.

In accepting the plea, Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court gave Washington a 15-year prison sentence. Judge Kovach then suspended six of those years, meaning Washington’s prison term will be nine years. Of the six-year balance, Washington will serve three years on active probation, during which she must pay restitution to the victims, the judge ordered.

Judge Kovach set a restitution hearing for July 11 to determine the amount she owes the victims.

Washington accepted money from customers to arrange for their hotel reservations, VIP party passes, concert tickets, travel insurance and other festival-related purposes, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Her customers traveled to New Orleans only to learn that, in some cases, they had no hotel reservations or services for which they paid.

Washington deposited more than $240,000 into her business bank account and provided some of the services her customers sought. She also used that account to pay for an array of personal activities, from restaurants to rental car payments and gasoline to shopping trips, Sheriff’s Office economic crimes detectives found.

The Sheriff’s Office investigated the case with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Service.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Voss prosecuted the case.