CaribWorldNews, NEW ORLEANS, LA, Weds. May 27, 2009: Former state representative and New Orleans city councilwoman, Belize-American, Renee Gill Pratt, has been indicted on federal racketeering charges.
Gill Pratt is accused along with members of the Jefferson political family in Louisiana, of operating a `criminal enterprise` that raided non-profit organizations created to help disadvantaged people.
The indictment issued Friday incorporates Gill Pratt into the alleged conspiracy to launder money from nonprofit groups, while offering up some new details of how the money was spent.
Gill Pratt is also accused of improperly taking possession of vehicles donated to the city after Hurricane Katrina, channeling city rent money to one of Mose Jefferson`s buildings and using state and city dollars to pay carnival dues.
The indictment comes nearly one year after a grand jury indicted her longtime boyfriend, Mose Jefferson; his sister, 4th District Assessor Betty Jefferson; and Angela Coleman, Betty Jefferson`s daughter; on various charges of skimming money from nonprofit organizations that were supposed to help impoverished communities.
Additionally, as a city councilwoman, Gill Pratt is accused of improperly appropriating the use of four vehicles donated to the city of New Orleans by DaimlerChrysler. The 2005 Dodge Durango and three 2006 Dodge Ram pickup trucks were used by Gill Pratt, Mose Jefferson and others as their personal vehicles, according to the indictment.
Gill Pratt is also accused of misusing her position on the City Council to obtain city money to pay for an office in a building owned by Mose Jefferson. The city paid rent for this `satellite office` in Central City to a Jefferson company called Southwind Consultants. On March 31, 2003, the company paid back $5,000 of that money to Gill Pratt, according to the indictment.
In March 2005, Southwind, using rent money paid by the city and money from Care Unlimited, paid $1,250 that Gill Pratt owed the Krewe of Muses for membership dues and other charges, presumably Carnival throws, according to the indictment.
Gill Pratt faces a maximum sentence of 20 years if convicted.