Former executive director of Tyler non-profit guilty of embezzling funds from disabled clients
Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2020
TYLER, Texas – A 33-year-old Shreveport, Louisiana woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling over $500,000 from an East Texas non-profit organization in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox on Tuesday.
Jessica Rottab pleaded guilty today to a one-count criminal information charging her with federal program theft before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love.
According to information presented in court, from about June 24, 2017 through September of 2018, Rottab, who was residing in Flint, Texas at the time, worked as the Interim Executive Director of the East Texas Center for Independent Living (ETCIL) in Tyler, Texas. ETCIL is a non-profit corporation with a mission of helping people with disabilities achieve greater independence, self-sufficiency, and full participation in their communities.
ETCIL receives benefits in excess of $10,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services every year. From Sep. 9, 2017 through July 23, 2018 ETCIL maintained an operating checking account at Southside Bank in Tyler, Texas. During this time, Rottab made 369 unauthorized cash withdrawals for her personal financial benefit, totaling $118,224.24. From June 24, 2017 and continuing until Sep. 11, 2018 by various additional means, such as using ETCIL’s corporate credit card for unauthorized expenditures for her personal financial benefit, Rottab embezzled a total of $526,690.83 from ETCIL.
“This case exemplifies the great results we can achieve when we bring together our federal and state and investigative resources,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas will continue to aggressively prosecute those who abuse their position of trust to steal from those who receive public assistance.”
Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office, Gerardo Gomez, commended the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement partners in the successful resolution of this investigation. “The IRS enforces the nation’s tax laws, but also takes particular interest in financial schemes that victimize our most vulnerable citizens and taxpayers. In those instances, be assured IRS-CI will pursue any and all legal avenues in pursuit of justice.”
Under federal statutes, Rottab faces up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office. Rottab has agreed to pay restitution of $526,690.83 to ETCIL and their disabled clients
This case was investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division, Tyler Office, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Tyler Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.