A former employee of the St. Charles Parish Clerk of Courtís Office who police say pocketed money given to her to pay speeding tickets will avoid jail time after pleading guilty to a reduced charge.
Tina V. Bourque, of 165 Martin Lane in Des Allemands, was originally charged with 12 counts of malfeasance in office and 12 counts of injuring public records. However, Bourque took a plea deal and pled guilty to one count of injuring public records. All other charges against her were dismissed.
Bourque worked at the Clerk of Courtís Office for more than 20 years before her arrest.
She was sentenced to five years in jail but that sentence was suspended. She was placed on active probation for three years and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service through St. Charles Parish Hospital.
The alleged theft first came to the attention of authorities after a woman informed police that she was told to pay Bourque $116 to get a speeding ticket taken off of her record. When the woman learned that her driving privileges were going to be revoked even after paying Bourque, she obtained a copy of her check and found that it was endorsed by Bourque, the woman said.
The woman thought she was paying only for court costs associated with the ticket.
According to an arrest report filed with the case, the woman first contacted Blane Oncale, who she had heard had connections to get tickets taken off of a personís record for insurance reasons. Oncale, in turn, told her that he had talked to "Tina" and that she needed to give him a check for $116, but leave the pay to the order section of the check blank, the woman said.
Authorities contacted Oncale and he told police that he is a truck driver who has been friends with Bourque for a number of years, the report said. Oncale said that Bourque would assist him with traffic tickets to avoid them going on his driving record, usually by paying court costs of $116. He said he had brought five or six citations to Bourque for friends and co-workers.
After the St. Charles Parish Sheriffís Office learned of the alleged theft, they sent out a press release asking other witnesses to come forward. Several did so, and said they had asked Bourque to "take care" of tickets for them for a $116 charge. Some had even brought multiple tickets to Bourque, according to the report.
According to authorities, Bourque nolle prossed most of the tickets, which removed a warrant for the personís arrest. However, the person still owed fines for the ticket in the court system. Nolle prossed means that the charges were dropped before a judge or jury could make a decision.
Two other clerk employees were also arrested for similar crimes. Kerri Breaux, of Luling, pleaded guilty in December 2011 to stealing more than $600 and falsifying records. She was sentenced to one day in jail, given 50 hours of community service and placed on probation for three years.
Brittney Jones, of Hahnville, pled guilty to malfeasance in office last July. She was given three years of probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine.