- Cullman, Alabama

November 20, 2012

Alabama man pleads guilty in wire fraud case

Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Federal prosecutors say an Alabama man has pleaded guilty to a one-count felony indictment accusing him of wire fraud.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement Tuesday that 54-year-old Ricky Nelson Dawson of Autauga County is accused of the theft of about $6.2 million in checks payable to the federal government.

Court records indicate Dawson was director of the Bay Minette and Camden offices of USDA’s Rural Development programs.

Authorities say that between March 2007 and May 2012, Dawson received checks -- all payable to “Rural Development” or a variation of that -- which were intended as payment to USDA.

Prosecutors say Dawson embezzled the checks by depositing them into an account in the name “Ryal Development Farm” that he had opened at First Community Bank in Chatom.

Prosecutors say that on some of the checks, Dawson hand-wrote the letter “y” over the “ur” in “Rural” to make it appear as if “Ryal” Development was the payee of the checks.