Jailed former road manager wants $500K back from feds
By Dwayne Bremer
May 2, 2014, 19:26
Former Hancock County Road Manager Roger Ladner claims he overpaid the government $500,000 in restitution and has asked a federal court to return the money to him.
Ladner, 57, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison in December 2012 for his role in a "kickback" scheme that arose from ditch cleaning contracts awarded after Hurricane Katrina.
He was also ordered to repay the Federal Emergency Management Agency approximately $1.13 million in restitution.
Last year, Ladner filed a motion to have his sentence vacated, claiming--among other things--that his attorney and prosecutors colluded to get Ladner to plead guilty.
The government and Ladner's attorney, Peter Barrett, have both denied any wrong-doing in subsequent court filings.
Ladner's motion to vacate his sentence is still pending and on Tuesday, he filed a motion asking the government to return $500,000 which he claims he "overpaid" as part of his restitution.
"The petitioner (Ladner) worked and saved all of his adult life and during that time managed to save a sizable amount," Ladner said in his motion. "When counsel advised the petitioner to forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars over what the government was entitled, it was clearly an error that the court cannot hold harmless. In other words, a man works all his life in legitimate business, earns a comfortable life, secures his family's future, and in one day, it's all being forfeited to the government on the unsound advice of one attorney. This cannot be the American Dream. What is this? It is a travesty and miscarriage of justice."
Ladner admits in his filings that the burden of proof is on him to show any wrong-doing on part of his attorney or the government during the plea and he has asked the court for an evidentiary hearing, so that he can present his arguments to the court.
Neither Barrett nor the government has responded to Ladner's latest motion.
Ladner has served about 18 months of his 60-month sentence. He is currently being held at a federal facility in Arkansas.