Cutler turns herself in after indictment - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cutler turns herself in after indictment

June 22, 2005

Albany- A Dougherty County Commissioner surrendered to authorities Wednesday night after being charged with racketeering and theft.

Brenda Robinson-Cutler was indicted for stealing money from disabled clients of the Albany Advocacy Resource Center.

Cutler wasn't the only politician the grand jury indicted Wednesday. They also indicted former state representative Lawrence Roberts for theft. Cutler and Roberts are each charged with taking money that did not belong to them, but in different situations.

It was when Cutler worked as a case manager at the AARC that prosecutors say she forged checks and stole money from eight people served by the organization. The indictment also says she had her mother, sister and two friends cash some of the checks and bring the money back to her.

The case is being handled by the state attorney general's office.

"The attorney general's office called and requested time with the Grand Jury and I accommodated that request as I am required to," said Dougherty District Attorney Ken Hodges. "I a have not seen any of the evidence and know nothing about it."

The investigation began almost three years ago after Cutler left the AARC. When we interviewed her then, she said she didn't know why she was being investigated.

"They can rummage around in anything they want to. I know what I've done and what I haven't done," Cutler said in September of 2002. "And basically I went to AARC, not as a county commissioner, but as Brenda Robinson-Cutler, and basically I did a job there."

She turned herself in at the Dougherty County jail and was released on a $5,000 bond, according to her attorney Eddie Meeks.

Former Representative Lawrence Roberts is accused of theft by deception and theft by taking.

He tried to sell his Albany business in 2003. After he left a closing with an escrow check for more than $109,000, there were disagreements over the sale.

"There were some measure taken to try to stop payment on the check," Hodges said. "Unfortunately, Mr. Roberts was able to negotiate the check prior to the check being stopped."

A local attorney asked Roberts to return the money. Two months later, he ended up spending more than $4,000 dollars and never tried to repay the money. When we interviewed him on the issue almost two years ago, the issue was being handled in civil court and he admitted to cashing the check.

"If I write you a check, I assume you can cash it," Roberts said in September 2003. "That's as far as I want to comment on that. We'll get all that settled out in the court system. And I look forward to having my day before a jury of my peers."

Now it looks as if that day will come soon for both Roberts and Cutler.

Governor Sonny Perdue can now appoint a three-person ethics panel to recommend whether Cutler should be suspended from the Dougherty County Commission while she awaits trial.

We're not sure how much money Cutler is accused of stealing from checking accounts of AARC clients. The attorney general's office did not return our phone calls Wednesday.

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