Maurice William Campbell Jr., 60, paid for both luxury goods and daily needs with these fraudulently obtained funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama.
U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon in Birmingham also ordered Campbell to pay $5.9 million in restitution to the State of Alabama and to forfeit $7.6 million to the federal government “as proceeds of illegal activity,” authorities said.
In November a federal jury convicted Campbell on all 96 counts of an indictment that levied charges of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering, according to a court news release.
The sentence fell short of federal prosecutor’s recommendations. In a court document filed last week prosecutors had asked the court to sentence Campbell to between 21 and 27 years in prison.
Nonetheless, said FBI Special Agent in Charge Pat Maley, "Citizens should expect that government officials will perform their duties honestly, and the sentence imposed on Mr. Campbell today demonstrates that the justice system will stand up to their expectations."
IRS Special Agent Rodney E. Clarke added, "This sentence should serve as a deterrent to those who might contemplate similar fraudulent actions."
As director of the Small Business Consortium Campbell promoted economic growth through small business development. The consortium he once directed holds offices at Alabama’s public universities, including one at Jacksonville State University.
After about two years in that role he incorporated the Alabama Small Business Institute of Commerce, a nonprofit.
The institute received almost all of its funding through the state from grants, contracts, appropriations and the education budget. The Legislature designated Jacksonville State University’s College of Commerce and Business to receive the money from the state and pass it on to both the consortium and the institute. The university had “no supervisory authority” over the funds and received them only through a line item budgeted for the school by the Legislature, university officials have said.
Campbell and several co-defendants were convicted for using the funds for personal gain. According to the release, they created and directed the funds to several entities to conceal their use of the money.
Co-defendant Lauren Young, 34, head of marketing for the Alabama Small Business Development consortium, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing false tax returns. Young was sentenced earlier this month to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay the state $195,000.
Mickie Davis, 50, bookkeeper for the Alabama Small Business Institute of Commerce pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and filing false tax returns. He was sentenced in February to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit $7.3 million to the federal government.
Benjamin Johnson, 36, executive director of the Institute of Commerce pleaded guilty to conspiracy and filing false tax returns. He was sentenced in February to 21 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $5.7 million to the federal government.
Campbell will begin his sentence on April 23.
Staff writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544. On Twitter@LJohnson_Star.