MOULTRIE -- Local attorney and accountant Douglas Rogers spoke out Thursday after a U.S. District Court judge sentenced him earlier this week in Macon to two and a half years in prison on four counts of mail fraud.

Until now, Rogers has remained silent following the advice of counsel.

This spring, a federal jury found that Rogers abused his power as trustee and guardian of Mildred "Mimi" R. Carr, an incapacitated adult, when he embezzled $200,000 from a trust set up to support her. He used the money to buy stocks over the Internet and charged her a $10,000 trustee fee on top of it. In addition to prison time, he also was ordered to pay the trust $210,000 in restitution.

"Although a jury in federal court found me guilty of the offense of mail fraud in connection with my duties as trustee supervising a trust, I cannot in good conscience admit that I am, in fact, guilty. In actuality, the opposite is true -- I am not guilty; I did not steal funds from the Carr Trust," Rogers said in a prepared statement given to The Moultrie Observer.

"However, I do acknowledge bringing about the circumstances that allowed certain people to infer that I was guilty. I have never denied borrowing $200,000 from the trust, and I never concealed the loan documents. The loan was documented in writing in the form an interest-bearing promissory note, and the documents were viewed and witnessed by several people. Having said that, I accept full responsibility for my actions," he said.

"For more than 20 years, I have worked as an accountant, and for almost 12 years, I have practiced as a lawyer trying to help people in need. I strived to serve my clients with dignity and respect. During the time period in question, I handled more than fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) of other people's money, and all of it is faithfully accounted for. Simply put, I am not a thief," he said.

Rogers has instructed Miles Hannan of Valdosta to file an appeal with the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

"For me, it has truly been an honor and privilege to have clients call on me for help, and I am truly honored, blessed and humbled. I appreciate all the friends and clients who have conveyed words of comfort and prayer to me during this difficult period for me and my family," Rogers said.

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