Louisiana State Representative to Repay $37,000 Misused on Gambling Activities

Louisiana State Representative Jerome Richard declared yesterday he plans on repaying the amount of $37,000 he took from his campaign donations to use for gambling purposes. The lawmaker explained the misuse of the funds with a gambling addiction, which he attributed to the prescription medication he used to treat his Parkinson disease.

The Board of Ethics acknowledged the campaign contributions were misused by the State Representative and ordered the transgressor to repay the full amount. In his statement, the lawmaker disclosed the Board of Ethics will publicly announce the settlement on their monthly meeting, which is to take place next week. Richard’s abuse of campaign donations was made public by local media outlets. The lawmaker is not affiliated with any particular political party.

Richard explained that in the beginning, he was using his own money to feed his gambling problem. After the State Representative exhausted his personal funds he resorted to spending from his campaign contributions for betting purposes. The offender, who first assumed office back in 2008, confirmed in his statement that he has completely depleted his personal accounts while gambling.

The State Representative ascribed his inability to control his gambling spendings to a medication he was taking in order to deal with hand tremors, which resulted from his suffering from Parkinson disease. According to Richard, he started gambling on a regular basis after he first started taking the said medication. The lawmaker went on to explain he quit using this medication last year, at which point his gambling problem drastically subsided.

Studies Indicate Anti-Parkinson Medication can Trigger Compulsive Gambling

Indeed, various studies have indicated that it is possible for people who use such anti-Parkinson medications to exhibit signs of pathologic gambling. The prescription medication State Representative Richard was using at the height of his gambling spending was also on the list of drugs that may potentially trigger such pathologic conditions.

Interestingly enough, the lawmaker revealed that prior to taking this anti-Parkinson medication in 2011 he had never exhibited any interest in getting involved in gambling activities. State Representative Richard expressed his firm belief the medication has to do with his transgression and proceeded to say he has taken the full responsibility for his actions.

In fact, it was Richard himself who reached the Board of Ethics with a written statement to uncover his violation to fellow members of the House of Representatives. The Louisiana lawmaker also announced now that he has ceased using the medication, he plans on moving forward with his political career and has no intentions of handing in his resignation.

This is not the First Case of Campaign Funds Misuse in the State

Richard is not the only state official from Louisiana to misspent campaign contributions for gambling purposes. This Wednesday, Dave Peralta, who assumes the position of a president of one of the parishes in the state’s capital Baton Rouge, was charged for spending thousands from his campaign donations on gambling in casinos throughout New Orleans and Mississipi.

The court pressed several charges against the offender, including one that accused him of submitting false information in his campaign finance reports. Three other charges involved accusations of perjury. The parish president had made 22 withdrawals from his campaign account and used the money to gamble in various landbased venues, including Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel & Casino and Hollywood Casino & Hotel Gulf Coast in the state of Mississippi.

David Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General, who is also in charge of the local corruption unit explained to the transgressor such practices are illegal in the state of Louisiana and state officials are not allowed to use campaign finances to fuel their gambling habits. Upon leaving the courthouse, Peralta questioned the decision of the court, claiming he has done nothing wrong, while his attorney chimed in and referred to his client’s indictment as a form of “political lynching” on behalf of the prosecutors.

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