NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Grammy-winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and his concern spouse Ronald Markham each was sentenced to 18 months successful national situation Wednesday (Nov. 3), astir a twelvemonth aft they pleaded blameworthy to a strategy that defrauded the New Orleans Public Library Foundation of $1.3 million.
U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey besides ordered the brace to repay $1.123 cardinal successful restitution, thatch 500 hours of pupil euphony lessons and to service 3 years of supervised merchandise erstwhile their situation presumption are completed. They were fixed until Jan. 5 to study to prison.
The condemnation culminates a singular autumn from grace for Mayfield, 43, who erstwhile was the city’s ambassador for taste and amusement tourism promotion and a prominent, beloved fig successful its post-Hurricane Katrina recovery.
Zainey said helium considered putting Mayfield down bars for 2 years, but opted for a shorter condemnation with the proviso that the instrumentalist commencement moving and paying restitution wrong 60 days of his situation release.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Mayfield and his pianist/collaborator Markham utilized their positions arsenic president oregon committee members of the instauration to divert much than $1.3 cardinal successful funds intended for the city’s nationalist libraries into their ain projects and pockets done the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra that Mayfield founded successful 2002.
About $1 cardinal of funds meant to bargain books and enactment room unit and programming was steered toward the $10 cardinal operation outgo of the New Orleans Jazz Market, the venue connected Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard that served arsenic NOJO’s Central City base, prosecutors said.
Other pilfered funds were utilized by the brace to run and question with their jazz orchestra, supplement their six-figure salaries and to enactment a lavish manner that included luxurious edifice suites, Saks Fifth Avenue buying sprees and a caller trumpet for Mayfield plated successful 24-carat gold, the tribunal papers said.
The puerility friends ran the grift betwixt August 2011 and January 2013, according to a national expansive jury’s December 2017 indictment.
With his estimation successful tatters pursuing the indictment, Mayfield’s show opportunities began to adust up. The Royal Sonesta edifice successful the French Quarter ended Mayfield’s seven-year residency successful July 2019 and removed his sanction from its Bourbon Street euphony venue that had been called Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse.
Mayfield pleaded poorness successful tribunal and was assigned national nationalist defender Claude Kelly arsenic his ineligible counsel. Mayfield and Markham maintained their innocence for astir 3 years portion nether indictment, until they negotiated a plea statement successful July 2020. Mayfield and Markham pleaded blameworthy unneurotic past Nov. 10 to a azygous number each of conspiracy to perpetrate ligament and message fraud.
Each faced a maximum national situation condemnation of 5 years. But nether presumption of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to driblet 23 different counts brought against the defendants.
Mayfield and Markham inactive argued for leniency astatine Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, objecting to immoderate elements of the pre-sentencing study prepared for Zainey’s review.
“His misdeed was ego,” Kelly told the judge, “not greed.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dall Kammer implored the justice to enforce the maximum five-year sentence, which helium called “reasonable,” fixed the defendants’ behaviour and victim.
“It would service arsenic an illustration of white-collar criminals not getting a slap connected the wrist, alternatively getting jailhouse clip they deserve,” Kammer said.
After erstwhile NOPD superintendent Eddie Compass spoke connected Mayfield’s behalf and unfortunate interaction letters were work to counsel the justice connected the harm the defendants’ behaviour inflicted connected the room system, Mayfield addressed the court.
“This is rather emotional,” Mayfield said. “My anticipation contiguous is that my family, friends, assemblage and metropolis tin judge my apology. ... Being taken distant from my household would beryllium the worst punishment of all.”
Zainey replied from the bench, “Why weren’t you reasoning of this erstwhile you were violating the law? ... The precise libraries that helped you get your commencement are the ones you ripped off.
“You fto radical down. I’m blessed you admit that.”
Fox 8 newsman Olivia Vidal contributed to this report.
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