A 28-year-old Lake Charles man accused of stealing from U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Minaldi has turned himself in.
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff ’s Office spokeswoman Kim Myers said in a news release Wednesday to the American Press that Justin W. Gray, 710 W. McNeese St., has been charged with three counts of unauthorized use of a credit card and 41 counts of forgery.
Glen Vamvoras, Minaldi’s attorney, confirmed to the American Press Wednesday evening that Gray was a former personal assistant of the judge and Minaldi has accused him of stealing from her.
Myers’ release states an investigation between March 10, 2016, and Jan. 8, 2017, revealed Gray used the victim’s credit card and forged the victim’s name on numerous checks.
The total amount of forged checks and unauthorized use of the three credit cards is in excess of $64,000, she said.
A warrant was issued for Gray on April 13; he turned himself in Wednesday morning.
Judge Michael Canaday set Gray’s bond at $56,000.
In an interview with the American Press last week, Minaldi said in addition to her diagnosis of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder caused by alcohol abuse, she has been fighting a case of identity theft that “spans back for over a year.”
Minaldi said that after issues regarding her home, swimming pool and pets had become too much for her, someone she knew and trusted came to stay with her to help her.
Minaldi said said he had known him for “quite a while,” trusted him and had offered to let him stay at her home in exchange for his help around the house.
“Unfortunately, he took care of himself rather than taking care of my issues,” she said.
Minaldi expressed optimism about her future during the interview, saying she is weighing her options and noting that no decision has been made on if, when or how she would leave the bench.