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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 11, 2020

Montgomery Woman Receives 15-Month Sentence after Stealing Approximately $250,000 from Retired Educators Association

            Montgomery, Alabama On Tuesday, June 9, 2020, a Montgomery, Alabama resident, Vicki Lott Rohan, 56, received a 15-month sentence for committing wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Jewell. The sentence and conviction were the results of Rohan embezzling, over a seven-year period, approximately $250,000.00 from her then-employer, the Alabama Education Retirees Association (AERA).

            According to court documents, the AERA is a lobbying and political action organization based in Montgomery, Alabama. Its mission is to advocate for the interests of retired public educators and it receives funding through dues paid by its members.

            For many years, Rohan worked for the AERA as its bookkeeper. In that position, she had access to an organization credit card and the ability to write checks in the name of the association’s director. Rohan used the AERA credit card and checkbook to spend money on personal expenses until the AERA uncovered the activity in 2018. The investigation that followed revealed that Rohan had illegally spent roughly $250,000.00 of the AERA’s money on herself.

            At the sentencing hearing, both the former and current directors of the AERA addressed the court. Former director Janice Charlesworth said, “Dues of $35 per retiree may seem like an inconsequential amount to some. For retirees on a fixed income who have not received cost of living increases in their benefits for over ten years, the sacrifices to pay their dues were significant to them. The amount embezzled [amounted to] over a quarter of the annual budget to AERA, and it should not be taken lightly. Retirees put their trust in AERA and Ms. Rohan violated that trust.” The current director Jill Jackson said, “[Rohan] stole from an association who receives dues money from senior citizens living on fixed incomes.” Jackson also noted that Rohan “knew of these people and the condition of their limited finances.”

            “The retired educators of Alabama counted on Ms. Rohan and the other employees of the AERA to advocate on their behalf,” stated United States Attorney Franklin. “Ms. Rohan’s actions limited the AERA’s ability to perform its critical mission and risked harming the interests of all of the organization’s dues-paying members. The sentence imposed in this case is a reflection of the simple fact that taking what does not belong to you is a crime and it will be punished.”

            “The men and women of the FBI will continue to work tirelessly to bring justice to the victims of fraud and theft,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Jewell. “This sentence sends a clear message to those in trustworthy positions, theft will not be tolerated.”

            The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan S. Ross and Alice S. LaCour prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated June 11, 2020