State Business Development Consortium Director Charged in Fraud and Money Laundering Conspiracy

BIRMINGHAM—A federal fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy indictment was unsealed today against the former state director of a college consortium of business development centers, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Pat Maley, and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent In Charge Reginael D. McDaniel.

The 96-count indictment, returned March 30, charges MAURICE WILLIAM CAMPBELL JR., 59, of Rainbow City, with using his position as state director of the Alabama Small Business Development Consortium to obtain more than $7 million from the State of Alabama.

The indictment charges Campbell with conspiracy to defraud the state and a private non-profit institute he incorporated, and to make financial transactions intended to conceal the proceeds of the fraud. The indictment also charges Campbell with three counts of mail fraud, 56 counts of wire fraud, and 36 counts of money laundering. It also provides notice that the United States will seek forfeiture of $7,326,569.

“Fraud that results in a multi-million-dollar loss to the state is an egregious violation of the public trust,” Vance said. “The use of a charity to execute a scheme to defraud is a loss to those who might have benefitted from the charity’s mission. This office will continue to vigorously prosecute those individuals who use their official position for personal gain,” she said.

“Financial fraud schemes are often described as a house of cards,” McDaniel said. “The underlying structure can fall apart at any time and expose the individuals responsible for the alleged fraud. IRS Criminal Investigation will do its part to follow the money trail and pursue the evidence wherever it leads, leaving no financial stone unturned,” he said.

According to the indictment, Campbell’s position with the state and his conduct of the fraud were as follows:

In January 2003, Campbell was hired as state director of the Alabama Small Business Development Consortium. The consortium was composed of four-year universities in the state—each with its own small business development center—as well as a procurement technical center and an international trade center. The consortium’s purposes were to enhance economic growth, to provide management and technical assistance to small businesses, and to develop Alabama’s workforce.

About February 2005, Campbell incorporated the Alabama Small Business Institute of Commerce. Campbell was the president, a director, the initial registered agent, and the incorporator of the institute. The stated purpose of the institute was to enhance economic development, increase employment, and reduce business failure in Alabama through business education and workforce training.

The institute was formed as a nonprofit, with the representation that the corporation would not be operated for private profit, nor its assets at any time be used to benefit any shareholder, member, director, trustee, officer or other private person. The institute was expressly organized as a private, non-profit, charitable organization.

The institute received nearly all of its funding from the state through grants, contracts, and appropriations in the education budget. From 2005 through 2010, the private nonprofit Institute received more than $7.3 million in public funds to, among other services, provide education and training to Alabama workers.

The indictment charges that Campbell and others used the state funds provided to the Institute for personal gain through a variety of means, including the use of the mails and wires. The indictment further charges that Campbell and others created a number of other entities—into which state funds provided to the Institute were deposited and later spent—in order to conceal the source, ownership, and control of those funds.

Campbell faces a maximum of five years in prison on the conspiracy count, a maximum of 20 years on the mail and wire fraud counts, and a maximum of 20 years on the money laundering counts.

The investigation of this matter was conducted by investigators from the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tamarra Matthews Johnson and George A. Martin are prosecuting the matter on behalf of the United States.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.