Press Releases

Attorney General Jeff Landry Arrests Two on Public Corruption Charges
3/14/2017

BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry today announced the arrests of two former East Feliciana Parish public officials in an alleged conspiracy case.

“My office will continue to use every resource we have to aggressively fight public corruption,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry. “The people of Louisiana deserve a government whose officials are held accountable for their actions.”

Laura DeJohn - former Coroner for East Feliciana - was arrested for Malfeasance in Office, Injuring Public Records, and Criminal Conspiracy. Melanie Vines - former Deputy Coroner - was arrested for Injuring Public Records and Criminal Conspiracy.

DeJohn and Vines allegedly participated in a criminal scheme with the intent to defraud the East Baton Rouge (EBR) Parish Coroner’s Office by submitting false Coroner Emergency Certificates (CECs) and billing invoices to the EBR Coroner’s Office. Vines, allegedly completed multiple fraudulent CEC’s for patients who resided in EBR Parish. This caused the EBR Coroner to deny payments for questionable services.

Furthermore, DeJohn allegedly told Vines to hide her involvement in the completion of the CEC’s because she believed payments would be denied if the EBR Coroner found out Vines had performed them. Therefore, Vines concealed reference of herself in the CEC’s, signing DeJohn’s name and nursing credentials. Investigators identified over 20 separate patient records which had been falsified.

It is also alleged that DeJohn knowingly disregarded the State’s records retention law(s) during her tenure as coroner. Based off of the joint investigation by Attorney General Jeff Landry's Louisiana Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, DeJohn and Vines are believed to both have knowingly misused their authority and positions of public trust.

Both were booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

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Coming soon, the attorney's general office seeks to provide a mechanism by which to take online payments for collections.