Thursday, October 28, 2021

Irvin Mayfield, Ronald Markham face new wire fraud, money laundering charges

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The federal government has filed four new charges of wire fraud and money laundering against Grammy-winning New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and his longtime friend and business partner Ronald Markham, alleging they transferred an additional $140,000 from public library donations to finance their jazz orchestra and Mayfield’s luxury hotel stays.

The superseding indictment comes seven months after a federal grand jury charged Mayfield and Markham with 19 counts of fraud and conspiracy related to $1.4 million in transfers from the New Orleans Public Library Foundation, where they each served as president with almost unfettered financial authority, to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

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Mayfield founded and led the orchestra, which paid each of the men six-figure salaries.

The criminal charges closely mirror payments first uncovered by WWL-TV in 2015 and 2016.

In 2015, Markham told the station that the money from the Library Foundation was used to build the Jazz Orchestra’s New Orleans Jazz Market in Central City, with the idea that it would serve in part as a branch library focusing on music.

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However, federal prosecutors allege the money went not to the market but to pay orchestra expenses and into Mayfield and Markham’s pockets.

The new charges come as Mayfield and Markham wrap up a trip to perform at the Soweto International Jazz Festival in South Africa, which required them to go to court to alter the terms of their bond so they could travel out of the United States and earn $7,500 plus expenses.

The superseding indictment comes seven months after a federal grand jury charged Mayfield and Markham with 19 counts of fraud and conspiracy related to $1.4 million in transfers from the New Orleans Public Library Foundation, where they each served as president with almost unfettered financial authority, to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

Mayfield founded and led the orchestra, which paid each of the men six-figure salaries.

- Advertisement -

The criminal charges closely mirror payments first uncovered by WWL-TV in 2015 and 2016.

In 2015, Markham told the station that the money from the Library Foundation was used to build the Jazz Orchestra’s New Orleans Jazz Market in Central City, with the idea that it would serve in part as a branch library focusing on music.

However, federal prosecutors allege the money went not to the market but to pay orchestra expenses and into Mayfield and Markham’s pockets.

The new charges come as Mayfield and Markham wrap up a trip to perform at the Soweto International Jazz Festival in South Africa, which required them to go to court to alter the terms of their bond so they could travel out of the United States and earn $7,500 plus expenses.

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