Ex-Florida A&M University FCU President Proclaims Innocence In Embezzlement Trial
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The former president of Florida A&M University FCU and a former program director at the University insisted during their trial this week they were innocent of stealing $135,000 of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds administered by the credit union.
Eugene Telfair, the 57-year-old president of the $23 million credit union, and Robert Nixon, 45, director of FAMU's Institute on Urban Policy and Commerce, were charged with conspiracy, theft from an organization receiving federal funds and embezzlement of funds entrusted to a federally-insured credit union. Prosecutors said the two wrote one another checks and created fraudulent personal services contracts.
In the third day of testimony Wednesday, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Karen Rhew-Miller led witnesses through an array of contracts and tax documents intended to show how Telfair and Nixon created a paperwork trail that allowed them to steal the federal grant money and cover up the theft.
Attorneys for the men argued that Telfair didn't know that a contract he signed with the university to be paid $150,000 directly to administer the grant-funded loan program was subsequently changed — likely by mistake — to make the credit union the entity responsible for the loan program.