EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated
An Alabama State Representative and member of the Democratic Party has been charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice and will now be resigning from the Alabama Legislature.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a document in the United States District Court accusing Fred Plump, Jr. (D-Fairfield) of conspiring with others to siphon money from a public works fund in Jefferson County, which it said involved the submission of false and fraudulent information to county officials.
The DOJ said the charges follow an investigation into the Jefferson County Community Service Fund (JCCSF), which the Alabama Legislature created in 2015 along with the Jefferson County Community Service Committee, a 1% sales tax and a 1% use tax. The taxes went into effect in 2017.
According to the law, JCCSF revenue, which equated to around $3.6 million a year, must be distributed according to specific priorities, such as increasing the county’s general fund and funding local boards of education.
Representatives and Senators representing Jefferson County could make recommendations to the Jefferson County Community Service Committee about fund allocation by submitting information about the organization and confirming it intended to use the money for one of the allotted purposes of the fund.
According to a statement from the DOJ, another lawmaker directed $400,000 to the Piper Davis Youth Baseball League, in which Plump served as the executive director. Plump, in turn, gave around $200,000 in kickbacks to the other lawmaker’s assistant.
According to reports, State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) identified himself as the unnamed lawmaker in the DOJ statement.
The DOJ also accused Plump of obstructing evidence by sending his assistant a text stating “Red Alert” and meeting with her to warn about the investigation.
Plump pleaded guilty on Tuesday and agreed to resign from office and pay at least $200,000 in restitution to the JCCSF. Nevertheless, each of his charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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