Water system manager gets 3 years probation for wire fraud

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Courtesy of KTBS
The former manager of a Red River Parish water system was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to make restitution during his sentencing hearing Thursday, Jan. 6 in federal court. 

This article published in the Jan. 13, 2022, print edition

Donald “Bo” Messick, 50, of Coushatta initially faced up to 20 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in July to one count of wire fraud for converting public funds to personal use. 
He defrauded the Fairview Union Water System out of $57,020, which the court ordered him to repay as part of his sentence. The water system serves customers in Red River and Natchitoches parishes. 
The government said from Feb. 1, 2018, to March 1, 2019, Messick used water system funds for personal purchases such as buying fuel, vehicle parts, tools and other equipment. In some cases, he used the funds to buy items then gave them away to family. 
The scheme also included another instance where Messick had an electronic funds transfer sent from the water system’s bank account to an individual in Florida for her personal use. He did that without authorization from the water system board. 
Messick additionally enrolled a relative in the water system’s group health insurance. The relative was not an employee and not authorized to be on the insurance plan. As a result, the water system paid the relative’s premiums and the insurer paid out $19,705 in claims.