Woman pleads guilty to embezzling more than $500,000 as former director of East Texas advocacy group for the disabled

Crime

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $500,000 from an East Texas advocacy group for the disabled for more than a year.

Jessica Rottab, 33, used to be the head of the East Texas Council for Independent Living and admitted to stealing $526,000 in federal funds that were meant for clients.

Prosecutors announced in a hearing that they recommend Rottab be sentenced up to seven years in prison for the crime as part of a plea deal. Lead attorney for the United States John Noble also said that there would an unspecificed fine also attached to the deal.

The amount for the fine was not revealed during the hearing, but federal law allows for up to $250,000 or two times the amount gained from the crime.

Noble added that Rottab has “kept every appointment” and that he does not consider her a flight risk before sentencing.

The parole division had recommended that Rottab be imprisoned leading up to her sentencing, but prosecutors decided to recommend to Judge Love that she be released on a personal recognizance bond until sentencing.

During the hearing, Rottab was soft-spoken and rarely said anything if she was not directly asked by the judge. Many relatives of victims were in the gallery and gathered to speak with Noble following the hearing.

A sentencing date for Rottab has not been set as of this writing. While prosecutors are recommending up to seven years, federal statutes allow a maximum ten year sentence which is followed with up to three years of supervised release.

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