NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Grammy-winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and his enterprise associate Ronald Markham every was sentenced to 18 months in federal jail Wednesday (Nov. 3), almost a yr after they pleaded responsible to a scheme that defrauded the New Orleans Public Library Basis of $1.3 million.
U.S. District Choose Jay C. Zainey additionally ordered the pair to repay $1.123 million in restitution, educate 500 hours of pupil music classes and to serve three years of supervised launch as soon as their jail phrases are accomplished. They got till Jan. 5 to report back to jail.
The sentence culminates a outstanding fall from grace for Mayfield, 43, who as soon as was the town’s ambassador for cultural and leisure tourism promotion and a distinguished, beloved determine in its post-Hurricane Katrina restoration.
Zainey mentioned he thought-about placing Mayfield behind bars for 2 years, however opted for a shorter sentence with the supply that the musician begin working and paying restitution inside 60 days of his jail launch.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Mayfield and his pianist/collaborator Markham used their positions as president or board members of the inspiration to divert greater than $1.3 million in funds meant for the town’s public libraries into their very own initiatives and pockets via the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra that Mayfield based in 2002.
About $1 million of funds meant to purchase books and help library personnel and programming was steered towards the $10 million building price of the New Orleans Jazz Market, the venue on Oretha Citadel Haley Boulevard that served as NOJO’s Central Metropolis base, prosecutors mentioned.
Different pilfered funds have been utilized by the pair to function and journey with their jazz orchestra, complement their six-figure salaries and to help a lavish way of life that included luxurious resort suites, Saks Fifth Avenue procuring sprees and a brand new trumpet for Mayfield plated in 24-carat gold, the courtroom doc mentioned.
The childhood pals ran the grift between August 2011 and January 2013, in response to a federal grand jury’s December 2017 indictment.
Together with his repute in tatters following the indictment, Mayfield’s efficiency alternatives started to dry up. The Royal Sonesta resort within the French Quarter ended Mayfield’s seven-year residency in July 2019 and eliminated his identify from its Bourbon Avenue music venue that had been known as Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse.
Mayfield pleaded poverty in courtroom and was assigned federal public defender Claude Kelly as his authorized counsel. Mayfield and Markham maintained their innocence for almost three years whereas beneath indictment, till they negotiated a plea settlement in July 2020. Mayfield and Markham pleaded responsible collectively final Nov. 10 to a single rely every of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
Every confronted a most federal jail sentence of 5 years. However beneath phrases of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop 23 different counts introduced towards the defendants.
Mayfield and Markham nonetheless argued for leniency at Wednesday’s sentencing listening to, objecting to some parts of the pre-sentencing report ready for Zainey’s assessment.
“His sin was ego,” Kelly instructed the choose, “not greed.”
Assistant U.S. Legal professional Dall Kammer implored the choose to impose the utmost five-year sentence, which he known as “affordable,” given the defendants’ conduct and sufferer.
“It might serve for instance of white-collar criminals not getting a slap on the wrist, as an alternative getting jail time they deserve,” Kammer mentioned.
After former NOPD superintendent Eddie Compass spoke on Mayfield’s behalf and sufferer affect letters have been learn to advise the choose on the harm the defendants’ conduct inflicted on the library system, Mayfield addressed the courtroom.
“That is fairly emotional,” Mayfield mentioned. “My hope as we speak is that my household, pals, neighborhood and metropolis can settle for my apology. … Being taken away from my household could be the worst punishment of all.”
Zainey replied from the bench, “Why weren’t you considering of this whenever you have been violating the legislation? … The very libraries that helped you get your begin are those you ripped off.
“You let folks down. I’m completely happy you acknowledge that.”
Fox 8 reporter Olivia Vidal contributed to this report.
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