Fairview water system manager pleads guilty to fraud charge


Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced Donald “Bo” Messick, 50, of Fairview Alpha appeared before Chief United States District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. Wednesday, July 14 and pleaded guilty to fraud.

A Bill of Information was filed April 23 in United States District Court charging Messick with one count of wire fraud.

The charge stems from a scheme Messick devised to defraud the Fairview Union Water System, an entity responsible for the management and upkeep of a rural water system in Red River and Natchitoches Parishes.

During the scheme, Messick used water system monies to purchase items for personal use, including fuel, vehicle parts, tools and other equipment. In some cases, he used water system funds to purchase items that he would then give to relatives.

In another instance, Messick had an electronic funds transfer sent from the water system’s bank account to an individual in Florida for her personal use and did so without authorization from Fairview Union Water System.

Messick also fraudulently enrolled a relative in the water system’s group health insurance when that individual was not an employee and not authorized to be on the insurance plan. As a result, the water system paid the premiums for this individual and the insurer paid out $19,705 in claims made on behalf of the unauthorized individual.

In total, from Feb. 1, 2018, to March 1, 2019, Messick defrauded the water system out of approximately $58,459.73 in monies and property.

Messick faces a penalty of not more than 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

Sentencing has been set for Nov. 18, 2021.

The FBI conducted the investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth D. Reeg is prosecuting the case.