Former Executive Director of Birmingham Volunteer Lawyer Program Sentenced For Misapplication of Federal Program Funds
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – September 21 2017 - Kelli Hogue Mauro, 48, of Birmingham, Alabama, and former Executive Director of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program, was sentenced yesterday to five years of probation and five months of home confinement for misapplication of property worth at least $5,000 from a federal program, announced U.S. Attorney Donald Cochran of the Middle District of Tennessee.
Mauro also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $10,228.32 to the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program and was fined $10,000. The Court also imposed the following requirements: Mauro must complete a financial responsibility program under the supervision of the United States Probation Office and report back to the District Court Judge after completion of that program; Mauro must write an open letter of apology to the Birmingham Bar Association, the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program and the Cumberland School of Law; and Mauro must complete 20 hours of community service work.
In pronouncing sentence, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Karon O. Bowdre stated, “This crime was one I can only rationalize as being one of greed.” Judge Bowdre observed that Mauro’s license to practice law had been suspended and characterized Mauro’s offense as “a sin against the profession as a whole.”
The criminal information, filed on April 19, 2017, charged that between January 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012, Mauro misappropriated property owned by and under the control of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program, an organization that received benefits in excess of $10,000 from grants made by the federal Legal Services Corporation through Legal Services Alabama.
According to the court documents, Mauro made approximately 100 transactions that benefitted herself and her family for a total loss to the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program of $35,116. Court documents also reflect that Mauro previously repaid or returned property valued at $21,145 and that Mauro was credited with $3,742.68 for expenses she incurred on behalf of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program that were not previously reimbursed by the program. Mauro expressed her intention to immediately pay the $10,228.32 in restitution owed to the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program to the District Court Clerk before leaving the courthouse.
The criminal information was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. The Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama was recused from the matter to avoid any appearance of partiality in the prosecution of Mauro.
This case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Legal Service Corporation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron M. Jones of the Middle District of Tennessee prosecuted the case.
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