NATCHITOCHES PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A joint investigation involving the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Legislative Auditor’s Office ends with a former Village of Clarence mayor facing criminal charges.
According to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, 52-year-old Tommy Evans was arrested by Winnfield police on Wednesday, Jan. 22 and charged with four counts of unauthorized use of a moveable and one count of malfeasance in office.
NPSO says Chief Investigator Greg Dunn was contacted by the Legislative Auditors Office in Baton Rouge on February 19, 2019. The auditor’s office was doing an audit on the Village of Clarence after numerous complaints of possible improprieties.
An investigation was prompted a few days later when auditors located a utility trailer that was reported stolen from the Village of Clarence at a residence in Winnfield, La.
Investigators with Winnfield and NPSO executed a search warrant at the Evans’ home on Jones Street, and authorities say they found a black utility trailer, a Kubota backhoe attachment, a John Deere Gator UTV, and a Stihl pole saw which were all reported stolen from the Village of Clarence.
Evans gave investigators several “conflicting” stories on how the items came to be at his residence, and after interviewing others close to the investigation led to warrants being secured for four counts of unauthorized use of a moveable, according to NPSO.
During the investigation, investigators say they also learned of a complaint involving a former Village clerk receiving a $5,000 severance paycheck that they may not have been entitled to, which was allegedly authorized by then-Mayor Evans. After several months of investigating and more interviews, probable cause was established to secure warrants on Evans for a count of malfeasance in office.
Evans was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center and released on a $25,000 property bond set by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge pending his court appearance.