State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) has been indicted on two counts of obstructing justice in a Jefferson County fraud case that has already forced one member of the House of Representatives to resign.
The 82-year-old Rogers was indicted earlier this week with one count of obstruction of justice and another charge of obstruction by bribery.
The charges stem from an inquiry into alleged fraud involving a Jefferson County fund. Earlier this month, Rogers’ assistant, 53-year-old Varri Johnson Kindall, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and obstruction of justice.
In May, The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a document in the United States District Court accusing then-State Rep. 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.
In the Plump filing, the DOJ claimed a then-unnamed 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. Rogers later identified himself as the lawmaker.
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