Former head of anti-poverty agency guilty of theft


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The former head of an anti-poverty group has pleaded guilty to stealing almost $500,000 from the organization.

Federal authorities say 63-year-old Ruth Gayle Cunningham pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing from the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity.

The agency assists low-income people around Birmingham.

Cunningham is a former executive director of the office. She pleaded guilty to using funds from the organization to make monthly mortgage payments on numerous houses that she or her daughter owned.

The U.S. attorney's office says 34-year-old mortgage broker Brad A. Bozeman of Hoover pleaded guilty in a related case, and Cunningham's 31-year-old daughter is set to enter a guilty plea next week.

A judge scheduled sentencing for Cunningham for January. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

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