Ladners’ Katrina-kickback trial rescheduled for May

GULFPORT — The trial of a former county road manager from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and his wife has been rescheduled for May 14 in federal court in Gulfport.

Roger Ladner, Hancock County’s former road manager, and his wife, Sharon, have pleaded not guilty to federal charges accusing them of being involved in a kickback scheme related to Hurricane Katrina cleanup contracts.

They were indicted in December and each charged with money laundering and conspiracy. They are free on bond.

The Sea Coast Echo reports the trial date was changed this week by U.S. District Judge Halil S. Ozerden.

Prosecutors said Roger Ladner was given the authority to award millions of dollars in ditch-cleaning contracts and some went to his relatives with a portion of the money funneled back to him and his wife. The indictment alleges the Ladners used third parties “to conceal the fact that they and their companies worked on the county ditch cleaning contracts” and funneled the proceeds “to various persons and accounts.”

The government is seeking the forfeiture of more than $1 million from the couple. They each face up to 25 years in prison, if convicted.

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