Defendant Sentenced to One Year in Prison in Public Corruption Case
United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announced today that Chief United States District Judge Kristi K. DuBose sentenced defendant James Antuan Blackman, 33, of Mobile, Alabama, to imprisonment for one year and one day for theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and money laundering. As part of the sentence, the judge ordered that Blackman undergo three years of supervised release after finishing his term of imprisonment, pay a $200 mandatory special assessment, and pay $200,000 in restitution to the City of Prichard.
On December 18, 2019, a federal grand jury for the Southern District of Alabama returned an 18-count indictment against Blackman, charging him with theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, wire fraud, and money laundering. On February 19, 2020, Blackman pleaded guilty before the Court to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of money laundering.
Blackman admitted to the following facts as part of his guilty plea. From around November 2016 to around January 16, 2018, Blackman was the Chief of Staff and Administrative Assistant to the Mayor of Prichard, Alabama. In that position, Blackman was an agent of the City of Prichard, Alabama, a local government that received over $10,000 under a federal program involving federal assistance during each year material to the indictment. From around November 2016 to around January 2018, Blackman used his position with the City of Prichard to enrich himself by diverting to his personal benefit approximately $200,000 in money and property belonging to the City of Prichard. Blackman enriched himself in several ways. He falsified invoices to the City of Prichard. He took and deposited for himself checks payable to the City of Prichard, and checks payable to other entities in the care, custody and control of the City of Prichard. Blackman also used his position with the City of Prichard to divert ownership of real property located on Outlaw Road, Herndon Avenue, and Stoval Street from the City of Prichard for his personal benefit. Finally, Blackman laundered money by causing a wire transfer of approximately $39,200.36 in criminal proceeds to be sent from a Regions Bank account that he controlled to a title company to facilitate the purchase of real property.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation investigated the case with assistance from the Investigations Team of the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys George Martin and Sinan Kalayoglu prosecuted the case.