Updated: 4:13 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 | Posted: 10:11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014
DeKalb Commissioner Boyer could serve prison time
By Johnny Edwards and Mark Niesse
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A day after resigning from office, DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer announced in court Tuesday she would plead guilty to federal charges accusing her of two schemes to pocket tens of thousands of dollars from taxpayers.
Boyer, appearing calm and collected, told a judge she understood what she was doing, but it’s unknown whether she’ll serve time in prison.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said she will seek a prison sentence for Boyer.
“This is a serious crime. She’s cooperating now after she was caught,” Yates said. Boyer’s guilty plea “doesn’t wipe the slate clean.”
Boyer’s attorney, Jeff Brickman, said he’ll ask a judge not to sentence Boyer to prison, although she doesn’t have a plea deal in place. She was to be released without supervision after being photographed and fingerprinted. She could be formally arraigned within 10 days.
A criminal filing earlier Tuesday said Boyer authorized more than $78,000 in county payments to an adviser who submitted false invoices for consulting work but did nothing.
The adviser then funneled about 75 percent of the money, more than $58,000, back into Boyer’s personal bank account, the document alleges. She faced a charge of mail fraud conspiracy for that scheme.
The court documents didn’t name the adviser and no charges apparently have been filed against that person, even though he apparently pocketed about $20,000 in taxpayer money. The documents say Boyer used her share for personal expenses, including purchases at hotels and high-end department stores.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was pressing Boyer to explain nearly $90,000 in checks to consultants before she resigned Monday and admitted she had betrayed taxpayers.
Federal prosecutors also accused Boyer of wire fraud for using her county purchasing card to pay for more than $15,000 in personal expenses. From October 2010 to February 2014, Boyer made more than 50 such purchases, prosecutors allege.
The AJC in March revealed that she had been tapping county funds to pay for airline tickets, a ski resort vacation, rental cars and personal cell phone expenses, triggering the federal investigation.
Boyer will have to forfeit any proceeds or property she obtained from the schemes, prosecutors wrote.