US Attorney may be looking into John Paul Funes case

Federal investigators are “interested” in the case of former Our Lady of the Lake Foundation President John Paul Funes, who was fired in early November after allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his former employer, according to East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Moore says he has talked to the U.S. Attorney’s Office about the matter and “they are interested in it.” East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks also confirms the discussions.

But it’s unclear if the feds will open an investigation—or whether they have done so already—and a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin says she cannot comment on any federal probe that may or may not be underway.

OLOL stunned the community Nov. 7, when it announced it had fired Funes for alleged forgery and embezzlement. Moore says the alleged crimes could be federal violations because they involved the U.S. Postal Service, emails and phone calls.

“He’s in a real unique situation,” Moore says of Funes. “If he says something to me (in the course of the investigation) what does that mean to the fed who takes the case?”

Though it’s been more than a month since the hospital disclosed the alleged crimes, Moore’s office and investigators from the EBRSO only received financial documents from OLOL on Dec. 3. Those documents—hundreds of pages dating back several years—were compiled by independent auditors for OLOL. It’s expected to take weeks, if not longer, for investigators to comb through the information, and begin bringing in witnesses for interviews.

Though OLOL was quick to fire Funes for alleged crimes he committed according to a written statement from the foundation, the hospital has remained tight-lipped about how the alleged wrongdoing occurred and Moore has been unable to comment on what he has been told.

Funes and his attorney, former U.S. Attorney Walt Green, have declined to comment.

But Moore says from what he knows, it appears Funes acted alone.

“From what I’ve seen, I don’t think there is anything criminal on anyone else’s part,” Moore says.

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