An Alabama Democrat legislator has resigned from the State House of Representatives and pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges.
Rep. Fred Plump Jr., from Fairfield, agreed to plead guilty after being accused of misusing state funds.
— 1819 News (@1819News) May 23, 2023
State Rep. Fred L. Plump Jr., D-Fairfield, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice after an investigation of wrongdoing in connection with the Jefferson County Community Service Fund. https://t.co/FfLp2FJfvi
— WTVY News 4 (@WTVYNews4) May 23, 2023
Fox News reported:
Prosecutors said before he was elected, Plump’s youth sports nonprofit received $400,000 in state grants from a legislator over five years and Plump in turn paid $200,000 of those funds as kickbacks to the legislator’s assistant, who was also Plump’s mistress, according to the information filed in federal court documents laying out the accusations.
Plump would submit false reports about the nonprofit’s use of the money, in some cases writing on checks that the money was for the youth dance team or cheerleading expenses, but the assistant would deposit the funds in her personal bank account, according to the court document. The assistant was not named.
The money was given between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2022. Plump was elected to the state House in 2022.
JUST IN — State Rep. Fred L Plump, Jr., of Fairfield, has been charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice and has agreed to resign from the Alabama House of Representatives, per Birmingham’s https://t.co/PH3UWip0E2. https://t.co/Ae0lVCsn26
— Barnett Wright (@BarnettWright) May 23, 2023
1819 News added:
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.
As an elected representative, Plump would have had $100,000 from the fund at his disposal each year, $500,000 total between 2018 and 2022.