The gist: On Wednesday, State District Judge John Trahan told architect Henry Boudreaux he must repay $1.1 million to two victims he defrauded in various home improvement projects.
Get caught up, quickly. In July Trahan sentenced Boudreaux, a first offender, to five years hard labor, suspended, and three years of supervised probation after the architect pleaded no contest to felony theft.
“We put on the record that we had evidence the fraud and the theft just for the Blanchets was in excess of $2 million, and the defense agreed to that,” Assistant District Attorney Kenny Hebert says. All parties also agreed to the lower amount — $900,000 to Ben and Anne Blanchet and $200,000 to Cheryl Heymann.
Boudreaux claims he doesn’t have the money. The architect was ordered to repay his victims in $1,000 monthly increments after his public defender told the judge he does not have a job or income, Hebert says. That amount will be split proportionately, according to attorney Mike Skinner, who represents the Blanchets.
What’s next? At the end of Boudreaux’s probation, the court will order that the balance be converted to a civil judgment, which means Boudreaux’s victims can then attempt to seize his assets to settle the debt. In the meantime, both the Blanchets and Heymann have pending civil suits against the architect, whose professional license remains active, according to the Louisiana State Board of Architectural Examiners’ website.
In August, Kathy Hillegas, executive director of the LSBAE, said the board would open an investigation into Boudreaux’s conduct “to identify any violations of the Architects Licensing Law.” Hillegas confirmed Thursday that the investigation is still underway. “We are unable to provide you with any information related to that investigation at this time,” she said.