Embattled former State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) has officially resigned from the Alabama House of Representatives after agreeing to plead guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges.

In a letter sent by Rogers' attorney to House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), Rogers formally announced his resignation from the House, effective as of this past Friday. The letter listed March 13 as the effective date. However, House Public Information Officer Clay Redden stated the correct date was March 15.

Rogers' Resignation Letter by Craig Monger on Scribd

SEE ALSO: Democrat State Rep. John Rogers indicted in federal court on two counts of obstruction 

Last week, Rogers agreed to plea guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. These charges arise from an investigation of wrongdoing in connection with the Jefferson County Community Service Fund. Rogers has also agreed to resign from the Alabama House of Representatives.

In February 2024, Rogers' former assistant and companion, Varrie Johnson Kindall, pleaded guilty to conspiring with Rogers and former State Rep. Fred L. Plump, Jr. to defraud the Fund. Plump also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges in June 2023 and resigned from the Alabama House of Representatives.

According to the second superseding indictment, the Alabama Legislature passed Alabama Act No. 2015-226 (the "Act") in 2015. It authorized the Jefferson County Commission to levy and distribute a 1% sales tax and a 1% use tax to benefit the public welfare and enhance the education of the children of Jefferson County.

The Act created the Jefferson County Community Service Fund (the "Fund"), which was subsidized by approximately $3.6 million annually from the new taxes. The Act also created the Jefferson County Community Service Committee (the "Committee"), the four members of which were elected by members of the Jefferson County House and Senate delegations.

The Committee was responsible for ensuring that the Fund was used only for the purposes set forth in the Act, which included supporting public entities and projects such as schools, libraries, museums, parks, zoos, neighborhood associations, athletic facilities, youth sports associations, road construction, the performing arts, police departments, the sheriff's office, fire departments, and certain nonprofit entities. Each Representative and Senator representing Jefferson County could make recommendations to the Committee of expenditures from their allotted amount of the Fund.

Between fiscal year 2018 and 2022, Defendant Rogers was allocated approximately $500,000 by the Fund. Rogers directed approximately $400,000 of those discretionary funds to Piper Davis. In turn, Plump gave approximately $200,000 to Rogers and Kindall as a kickback.

The second superseding indictment alleges that from in or about March 2019 and continuing through April 2023, Rogers and Kindall conspired with Plump to defraud and obtain money from the Fund. It is alleged that it was part of the conspiracy that Rogers, with Kindall's assistance, recommended during each fiscal year that most of his allotment of Fund money be paid to Piper Davis. In turn, Plump agreed to pay kickbacks to Rogers and Kindall.

Rogers, Kindall and Plump submitted false and fraudulent information to the Committee about Piper Davis' intended use of Fund money, and Rogers' certifications on the request forms were false. Upon receipt and depositing Fund checks, Plump gave checks to Rogers and Kindall for approximately one-half of the amount of Fund money received by Piper Davis.

Additionally, the second superseding indictment alleges that, after learning about the federal investigation into the fraud scheme, Rogers and Kindall attempted to obstruct justice by offering a witness grant money as a bribe and otherwise trying to corruptly persuade the witness to give false information to federal agents.

SEE ALSO: Federal prosecutors ask to revoke State Rep. John Rogers' bond

It is also alleged that Rogers and Kindall agreed that she would accept full responsibility for the crimes and falsely tell federal investigators that Rogers did not participate in the scheme in exchange for Rogers' promise to take care of personal issues for Kindall if she went to prison. As part of that agreement, Rogers had Kindall give false statements to investigators and prosecutors during a meeting at the United States Attorney's Office on May 25, 2023.

SEE ALSO: State. Rep. John Rogers arrested after federal judge revokes bond in kickback scheme trial

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to obstruct justice is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

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