A Birmingham lawyer facing federal count for misappropriating funds will plead guilty to the charge. Kelli Hogue Mauro entered her plea agreement Friday, after being formally charged Wednesday. The 48-year-old, who served as the Executive Director of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program from 2010-2013, has agreed to plead guilty to misapplication of property worth at least $5,000 from a federal program. According to court documents, the investigation into Mauro began in Aug. 2012, when a “very concerned intern” told Legal Services Alabama Mauro and another employee at BVLP were using sub-grant funds for paying family cell phone bills, using program credit cards for personal use, and writing BVLP checks to themselves for personal use. Legal Services Alabama is a grant recipient of Legal Services Corp. and issues grant funds to BVLP.
Office of Inspector General for the Legal Service Corporation told Mauro in 2012 about the investigation and asked her to provide documentation for the group’s funds for the past year and bills for BVLP from 2010-2012. She provided complete documentation. Court documents show after an auditor and the investigation committee reviewed all the records provided, they concluded Mauro used a BVLP operating checking account and the group’s Capital One credit card to “divert program funds for personal uses.” Documents showed within the time period of two years, Mauro made over 100 transactions for herself and her family from BVLP funds, totaling $35,116.Forensic auditors said in order to make transactions appear to be for a BVLP purpose, Mauro created false documents or altered documents. Records show Mauro has repaid BVLP $21,145.
She believes the group owes her $6,015.36 and intends to ask the court to offset her restitution by that amount. Mauro, a Gainesville native, graduated from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1994. She currently lives in Mountain Brook. She has worked at The Crittenden Firm, PC since 2013.
A charge of misappropriating property from a federal program has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Mauro’s sentencing date has not been set.