Des Allemands man sentenced in Catfish Fest theft

Stole $12K, will serve 4 years in jail

Wayne Guillot Jr., the former chairman of the Louisiana Catfish Festival who was arrested earlier this year for stealing more than $12,000 from the 2014 festival, has been convicted and sentenced to serve time in prison.

After reaching a plea bargain, the Des Allemands man withdrew his initial plea of not guilty and pleaded guilty to one charge of theft of items valued over $5,000 but less than $25,000.

Judge Timothy Marcel issued Guillot a 10-year prison sentence, six of those years suspended. He receives credit for the time he has already served since his February arrest.

Guillot, 42, was also placed on active probation and has been ordered to pay a monthly $60 fee for probation supervision. He must also submit to a substance abuse evaluation and follow all recommendations for treatment.

Guillot reportedly fled police after he was initially charged with two counts of theft and one count of writing worthless checks.

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office sought him in late 2015, placing him on CrimeStoppers in October of that year as a fugitive accused of filing $12,351 in fraudulent invoices paying himself the money from the St. Gertrude Catholic Church in Des Allemands, which holds the annual Catfish Festival.

Guillot, who was serving as festival chairman at the time, had a long standing history with the Catfish Festival.   He claimed the invoices were for festival purchases.    St. Gertrude’s Father Ray Hymel, who also serves as festival president, said Guillot’s prior arrest with similar charges in Lafayette raised concerns that he had also taken money from the Catfish Festival.

When a search of church records revealed Guillot’s alleged fraudulent invoices last year, Hymel said they contacted the Diocese and were advised to press charges.

The church was insured for the loss. Hymel added at the time the church was taking more precautions with festival finances.

Guillot’s sentence will run concurrent with his case in Lafayette Parish. The state agreed to not double bill him for the offenses in that parish.

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