A jury found Eugene Telfair and Robert Nixon guilty on all counts in a federal embezzlement case Friday, Nov. 12. Telfair, 57, former president of FAMU’s Federal Credit Union and Nixon, 45, former head of FAMU’s Institute on Urban Policy and Commerce, were indicted on July 7.
The three-count indictment charged the two men with conspiracy, theft from an organization receiving federal funds and embezzlement of funds entrusted to a federally-insured credit union. The jurors found Telfair and Nixon guilty of all charges after nearly five hours of deliberation. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 27 at 11 a.m., according to U.S. Attorney for North Florida website.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Rhew-Miller. The defendants were accused of conspiring to steal approximately $134,000 in federal grant money. The funds were granted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help jump start local small businesses. Records showed withdrawals corresponding with every deposit to a micro loan account during a period between 2002 and 2008. These withdrawals were then deposited in Telfair’s personal account.
Among the witnesses called to the stand was Telfair’s former executive assistant, whose access to the micro loan account was cut off after the FBI subpoenaed the records. Telfair and Nixon’s former co-workers reacted with shock at the allegations, emphasizing the good work both men had done for the community.
Telfair and Nixon’s attorneys argued jurors might not understand accounting but understand stealing, and that their clients were not stealing. Defense attorney Gary Roberts, who represented Nixon, declined comment but said he respects the verdict.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud.