Deputies say five people have been arrested in a scheme to allow a work program inmate to work for a family business instead of an assigned employer for more than two months.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said inmate Anthony Gambino III faces 72 new counts of simple escape and conspiracy to commit simple escape. He was serving time for a 2003 manslaughter conviction.

Gambino is being held for the Louisiana Department of Corrections on $149,000 bond.

Webre said Gambino reported to his mother’s house in Raceland to work for the family’s produce business instead of Schlumbrecht Electric in Waggaman. Gambino and Merlyn Maury III were arrested Thursday after Maurey transported the inmate to his mother’s home.

Gambino told investigators that he had made the request to work at the family business but the request was denied due to state law prohibiting it. Investigators said Gambino reached an agreement with Robert Schlumbrect, the owner of Schlumbrecht Electric, to work for the family business instead of at his company.

“Schlumbrecht, a childhood friend of the inmate, agreed to continue to provide checks in exchange to maintain the appearance that inmate Gambino was still employed by the company,” Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators say Maury falsely identified himself as an employee of Schlumbrecht Electric to LPSO officers.

“Ultimately, investigators found 72 instances in which Gambino did not report to the work site as assigned, and they learned that all aforementioned parties were aware that Gambino was illegally working for the produce business,” LPSO said.

<p>Merlyn Maury III, Bonnie Gambino, Jessica Matherne, Robert Schlumbrect</p>

Maury was booked with conspiracy to commit simple escape and 72 counts of principal to simple escape. His bond was set at $73,500.

Bonnie Gambino and Jessica Matherne were arrested Friday. They were each booked with 72 counts of principal to simple escape.

Schlumbrecht surrendered to authorities Saturday and was booked on one count of conspiracy to commit simple escape. He was released after posting $5,000 bond.

“This was more than just a simple case of an inmate not showing up for work,” Sheriff Webre said. “This was an elaborate scheme wherein multiple parties were committed to defrauding the Laforuche Parish Sheriff’s Office and the State of Louisiana, and they were charged accordingly.”