Home Sweet Home – or Two

House key on US currency.

Louisiana citizens can take advantage of a Homestead tax exemption for a home that’s their primary residence; accordingly, they must register and vote in the district in which that residence is located. In a confusing case of either homestead fraud—or perhaps voter registration fraud—the Rev. Donald Ray Henry was found to be voting in elections using a Donaldsville address, while claiming a homestead exemption and getting tax breaks for a residence in Gonzales. (Doesn’t one of the commandments have something to say about lying, Reverend?)

Henry was indicted in 2018 on felony charges of filing and maintaining false public records. Henry is thought to have used the Donaldsonville address in order to keep his position as vice chairman of the Southern University Board of Supervisors. The gubernatorially appointed board positions correspond with the state’s congressional districts. Henry’s seat represented the 2nd district, where he voted, while the home he claimed for tax purposes is in the 6th district.

In January 2020 Henry pleaded guilty to injuring public records. (Ah, so he can tell the truth!), He resigned his Southern University board position as part of his plea agreement. He has steadfastly refused to clarify where in Louisiana he actually lives… leaving the specific motivation of his fraud unresolved.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a WBRZ Channel 2 news article, “Southern board member pleads guilty, resigns two years after WBRZ report,” published Jan. 15, 2020.

GONZALES- Southern University Board of Supervisors member Donald Ray Henry entered a guilty plea in court this week to injuring public records. As part of his plea agreement, he resigned from the Southern University Board of Supervisors.

Henry was the focus of a WBRZ Investigative Unit report back in May 2018, which showed he was claiming a homestead exemption on a home in Gonzales for years but was actually using a different address for where he received mail and was registered to vote. Four months later, a grand jury handed up an indictment against Henry for injuring public records tied to the fraud.

Additional information is from an Advocate article, “Southern board member charged with felony over dueling addresses on voter registration, tax docs,” published Sep. 17, 2018.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.