10 indicted on charges of theft from Tuskegee University

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Ten people have been indicted on charges of theft of federal program funding from Tuskegee University, federal prosecutors said.

They are accused of conspiracy to commit federal program theft that began on an unknown date and continued until 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama said in a statement. The university 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of Montgomery receives more than $10,000 annually in federal funding. Authorities did not disclose how much was reportedly stolen.

According to the indictment, four university employees were involved with the creation of false purchase orders that indicated money was owed to six co-conspirators so that checks would be issued to them. Once the checks were issued, one of the employees delivered the checks to the co-conspirators who cashed them, U.S. Attorney Jonathan S. Ross said Monday.

Ross described the alleged crimes as “serious.”

“My office will continue to prosecute those who exploit federal programs and who exploit the institutions, like Tuskegee University, entrusted with using federal program funds for their intended purposes,” he said.

Tuskegee University, in a statement, said the four employees allegedly involved were terminated “immediately upon discovery in 2021,” al.com reported.

“The university worked with law enforcement during that time and has implemented a variety of measures to ensure that this kind of activity does not take place again,” the statement said.

A trial date for each defendant was set for Aug. 12.