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LSU Booster Sentenced in Embezzlement Case

Jason Scott

John Paul Funes, a Louisiana State University athletics booster, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison on Thursday in an embezzlement scheme, according to ESPN.

Funes, the former president and CEO of the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation, which raised money to support a regional medical center, pleaded guilty in June to felony wire fraud and money laundering charges. During a period between 2012 and September 2018, Funes was alleged to have defrauded the foundation with fraudulent payment authorization vouchers and check requests. 

Funes is alleged to have pilfered the foundation to pay himself, as well as “individuals who did little or no work for the foundation but for whom the defendant wanted to provide financial assistance,” according to a bill of information. 

Among those individuals is the father of former LSU offensive lineman Vadal Alexander, to whom prosecutors claimed Funes approved payments totaling $180,000, and the mother and sister of former LSU quarterback Rohan Davey, to whom checks totaling about $107,000 were sent. 

Funes reportedly represented that the money he sent to Davey’s family was needed for home medical care for a patient of the OLOL Children’s Hospital, but nobody in the Davey family has ever been a patient there. 

The foundation’s 2017 federal tax return also shows a $15,000 grant to the Tiger Booster Clubs. 

ESPN reports that the wrongdoing was discovered during an internal audit which began in August 2018. Funes was fired from the foundation in November of that year.

The alleged payments to Alexander’s father were made when Alexander was still playing at LSU, which may be a violation of NCAA rules. 

In a previous statement addressing the case, LSU senior associate athletic director Robert Munson said that the school “was made aware of specific allegations by OLOL officials in late 2018 and made the information immediately available to the NCAA. As this is an ongoing inquiry, LSU will have no further comment.”

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