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March 29, 2012
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351
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(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange announced the sentencing
today of defendants in a case that finally was brought to trial as the result of an appeal
by the Attorney General’s Office that set an important legal precedent for prosecutions
involving theft of funds.

Just as the case initially was going to trial in September of 2008, it was dismissed
because the indictment referred to theft of specific monetary amounts but did not state
whether the money stolen was received in the form of U.S. currency, checks, or credit or
debit card transactions. The Attorney General’s Office successfully argued that the form
of transaction or the currency was not necessary to properly identify the amount that
had been stolen. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed and the case came to trial this

Following a week-long trial that began on January 23, 2012, Mitchell and
Michelle Roffler were found guilty by a jury in Mobile County Circuit Court of second-
degree theft. Today, each was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, which was
suspended, ordered to serve five years of supervised probation and 240 hours of
community service, and to pay restitution as well as court costs. Mitchell Roffler, 36,
and Michelle Roffler, 33, are of Mobile.

The Attorney General’s Office presented evidence regarding the Rofflers’
ownership and operation of Gulf Coast Furniture Distributors, in which they accepted
payments from numerous customers who received neither the merchandise nor
refunds. Following the businesses failure to pay taxes, it was closed and the Rofflers
could not be located. An investigation by the Attorney General’s Office resulted in
criminal charges, throughout which the Rofflers maintained their refusal to compensate
their customers.

“With the intent to deprive victims of hard-earned money, the defendants
operated a business in a manner that led to the theft of the funds in this case. They took
money from people, many of whom were saving and making layaway payments to be
able to buy furniture, and then disappeared and kept the money,” said Attorney
General Strange. “The manner in which these payments were made – by cash, check,
credit or debit card – is irrelevant to the fact that the Rofflers took this money from their
501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 242-7300
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In its December 22, 2010, order that allowed the case to proceed, the Alabama
Supreme Court explained why the Attorney General’s indictment was sufficient in
noting the monetary amounts stolen but not specifying U.S. currency or the form of the
financial transaction:

“We granted the State’s petition for a writ of certiorari to determine
an issue of first impression: whether in the 21st century an indictment
that charges theft of funds in a certain dollar amount, in violation of ß
13A-8-3, Ala. Code 1975, but does not designate the medium of exchange
of those funds is legally sufficientÖÖ

In this case, the indictments charging the Rofflers with theft were
sufficient (1) to identify the charge — theft of a certain monetary amount
from an identified individual, (2) to enable the Rofflers to prepare their
defense, (3) to protect them against the possibility of being twice put in
jeopardy for the same offense, and (4) to enable the court, after conviction,
to pronounce judgment. Designation of the monetary amount allegedly
taken and from whom it was taken placed the Rofflers on notice as to the
exact charge so that they could prepare a knowing and adequate defense.”

Attorney General Strange commended those involved in bringing this case to a
successful conclusion, noting in particular the diligence and dedicated work of
Assistant Attorneys General Stephanie Billingslea and Bill Lisenby and Paralegal Lori
Arnold of his Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division, Assistant Attorney
General Steve Dodd of his Criminal Appeals Division, and Special Agents of the
Attorney General’s Investigations Division.