Irvin Mayfield, the jazz trumpet player who became a symbol of New Orleans resilience after Hurricane Katrina, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday for steering charity money meant for public libraries to his personal use.
Mayfield’s musical and business partner, pianist Ronald Markham, was also sentenced to 18 months Wednesday in federal court. Both pleaded guilty last November to a single charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.
Prosecutors alleged they steered more than $1.3 million from the New Orleans Public Library Foundation to themselves, largely by funneling it through the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, which Mayfield founded.
Mayfield, allowed to speak before he was sentenced, apologized to the library foundation, its donors and the New Orleans community. He acknowledged the library as a place where he first was able to listen to jazz records as a child. That brought one of several interruptions from U.S District Judge Jay Zainey.