Moss Point alderman says he’ll plead guilty to fraud count

Published 6:50 pm Friday, October 27, 2006

Moss Point alderman Alfred “Al” Bodden says he will resign on Dec. 6, one day before he says he will plead guilty to a federal charge of bank fraud.

“I’m taking responsibility for everything that happened at the car dealership,” Bodden said. “I owned the dealership and I am taking responsibility for whatever happened there.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office would not confirm the action, but a spokeswoman said that Bodden, 37, was scheduled to go to federal court in Gulfport on Dec. 7.

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Bodden was arrested Aug. 14 and charged in a 13-count indictment with six counts each of aggravated identity theft and bank fraud and one count of witness tampering.

The case stemmed from dealings at his car dealership, Al Bodden’s Supercenter.

On Wednesday, Bodden said he thought the plea agreement was such that he’d be pleading guilty to one count of bank fraud, listed as the second count in the indictment.

In that case, he’s accused of using someone else’s identity to obtain a $16,000 loan from AmSouth Bank in Jackson. He said he thought the other charges would be dropped.

The indictment accused him of using the identities of six others to secure a total of three loans from AmSouth Bank in Jackson and another from Navigator Credit Union in Pascagoula.

He’s also accused of trying to pay one of the alleged victims $2,000 to keep quiet.

Shortly after his arrest in August, Bodden pleaded innocent to all the charges and was released on a $25,000 bond. He was supposed to go to trial Nov. 6.

If Bodden does plead guilty to even one of the felony counts, he would have had no choice but to step down as alderman. State law makes it illegal for a convicted felon to serve in public office.

Bodden was elected to his first term in June 2005.