Wade on Birmingham

Heads up: John Katopodis guilty of mail, wire fraud


John KatopodisThe sideshow is over. The main act begins soon.

Once a city council member and a Jefferson County commissioner, John Katopodis (shown at left) formed a children’s charity, Computer Help for Kids, with then-HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy and then-Fairfield mayor and friend Larry Langford.

Scrushy, already sentenced to prison, lost a civil decision in June and owes $2.87 billion. With a ‘B.’

Langford, now Birmingham’s mayor, awaits federal criminal trial on Aug. 25 facing charges of conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns alongside William Blount and Al LaPierre.

And Katopodis, for stealing money from the charity designed to bring computers to kids, was found guilty on all 97 counts of mail and wire fraud. The charity received money from the City of Birmingham and the Jefferson County Commission (during which time Langford served on the commission as member and as president).

But Langford is innocent until proven guilty.

Among the disbursements:

  • Katopodis withdrew money in New Orleans casinos.
  • He spent $250,000 on his friends.
  • He bought a guitar and electric piano for Langford and arranged for a car to be sold to Langford.
  • One check had the memo “TV Langford,” indicating a TV set purchased to give to Langford.

But Langford is innocent until proven guilty.

The issue surfaced in 2008 when HealthSouth filed a suit against Katopodis, which alleged charity money going to him, Langford and untrained computer technician/Playgirl centerfold/gay porn star Ryan Idol.

But Langford is innocent until proven guilty.

Katopodis is the fifth convicted former commissioner in the past three years, joining Mary Buckelew, Jeff Germany, Chris McNair and Gary White. He will be sentenced Oct. 28, facing up to 20 years per count and forfeiture of $162,910.

Langford is out on $50,000 bond. And he remains innocent until proven guilty.

Until proven guilty.

Birmingham News: “John Katopodis guilty on all 97 counts in Birmingham federal court”
Birmingham Business Journal: “Former JeffCo Commissioner Katopodis convicted of fraud”
Birmingham Weekly: “Katopodis Found Guilty On All Counts”

1 Yip for “Heads up: John Katopodis guilty of mail, wire fraud”

  1. Wade on Birmingham » Blog Archive » Birmingham’s Biggest Crooks: John Katopodis
    Friday, August 21, 2009, 8:05 am

    […] (hours==0) hours=12 if (minutes Sphere: Related Content Also see:Birmingham’s Biggest CrooksHeads up: John Katopodis guilty of mail, wire fraudBirmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Mary BuckelewBirmingham’s Biggest Crooks: Al […]

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