In spite of sentencing guidelines recommending prison time, a federal judge Tuesday placed Angela Goodwine of Dayton on three years’ probation for stealing taxpayer money intended to help battered women.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose ordered Goodwine, 53, to spend the first six months of her probation under home detention, with work privileges. He ordered her to perform 100 hours of community service and pay $86,105 in restitution to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which funded what proved to be a bogus battered women’s shelter in Jefferson Twp.
Goodwine, who didn’t speak at the sentencing, pleaded guilty in May to one felony count of theft from a program receiving federal funds.
Rose determined Goodwine wrote fraudulent grant applications to obtain the funding on behalf of the Dayton chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the civil rights organization turned social service agency run by her father, the Rev. Raleigh Trammell. Trammell hasn’t been federally charged, but he was convicted last year of 51 unrelated theft counts in state court stemming from a separate program intended to provide home-delivered meals to poor, elderly shut-ins. Free pending appeal, he wasn’t present in the courtroom Tuesday.
Rose based Goodwine’s sentence on recommendations in a pre-sentence investigation by federal probation officials. Goodwine could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, and guidelines called for a term of 12-18 months. Federal prosecutors didn’t object to the probation.
“I think the judge took into consideration her service to the community and lack of any criminal history and, fortunately, gave a sentence different than the sentencing guidelines,” Goodwine’s attorney, Mia Wortham Spells, said after Tuesday’s hearing.
According to a statement of facts signed by Goodwine as part of her guilty plea, she “submitted or caused to be submitted to FEMA” false reports on the number of people served by a battered women’s shelter she claimed was being run by the SCLC. “Contrary to Ms. Goodwine’s representations to FEMA, the purported shelter rarely housed any guests between 2007 and mid-2009,” the statement said.
In February 2010, the FBI raided the offices of the Dayton SCLC and the homes of Trammell and Goodwine, seizing financial records and other documents.
In an affidavit in support of a search warrant for that raid, the FBI quoted a confidential informant as saying the shelter “was often vacant,” but Goodwine and Trammell sometimes allowed family members to live there “to create the appearance of a functioning shelter.” The informant said Goodwine, who managed the shelter’s bank accounts, “often pays personal expenses and provides allowances to her children” from the federal funds, the affidavit said.
Goodwine’s attorney last week filed a request that she be placed on probation. The filing included letters from five supporters who asked the judge to be lenient, saying Goodwine has a long history of helping others, especially inner-city youth.
In one of the letters, Robert and Juanita Wehrle-Einhorn of Dayton said they worked with Goodwine on numerous social justice issues and “she was always straight-forward. She never suggested anything dishonest or inappropriate.” They said since “her lifestyle does not seem to reflect any unusual self-enrichment, we think her offense probably resulted from her trying to do too much for the community without adequate financial safeguards.”