The former chief of Louisiana’s state-backed insurance company pleaded not guilty today in a criminal case that accuses him of fraudulently spending the firm’s money for personal travel and entertainment. Terry Lisotta was arraigned in Baton Rouge on 14 counts of theft. Lisotta, CEO of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. until April 2007, is accused of improperly spending about $30,000 of the firm’s money.
The criminal charges stem from an investigation by the Legislative Auditor’s Office that questioned $106,000 of Lisotta’s expense reports from 2003 to 2006. State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office is prosecuting. Lisotta’s lawyer, David Courcelle, said Lisotta will fight the charges. He submitted court motions to get all documents under review by prosecutors with the Attorney General’s office.
Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell and Courcelle both said a plea bargain deal is possible, but not in the works now. Lisotta is accused of submitting fictional expense accounts and getting reimbursed $3,321 for insurance conferences he did not attend or did not pay for. One count accuses Lisotta of getting $1,495 in Citizens reimbursements for fees to attend the Property-Casualty Industry’s conference in New York — though investigators say Lisotta, as a guest speaker, wasn’t charged the fee. Courcelle has said Lisotta is innocent.