Ex-employee of DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s Office sentenced for bribery, blackmail
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DeKalb County, GA — A former supervisor in the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s Office has been sentenced after pleading guilty to federal bribery and blackmail charges.
On July 14 the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Gerald Harris had pleaded guilty to taking bribes to unlawfully register vehicles and then blackmailing someone paying a bribe by threatening to turn them over to the FBI.
“Based on that conduct, the Court sentenced Harris to two years in prison, and three years of supervised release,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this month.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, from July 2017 to November 2019, Harris worked as the Supervisor of Tax Tag Clerks for the Tax Commissioner’s Office. In that job, he supervised the north office’s clerks responsible for processing motor vehicle registrations and renewals.
From mid-2018 to November 2019, Harris took bribes from people seeking to unlawfully register vehicles or renew their registrations. Harris took bribes to register individuals who didn’t have a Georgia driver’s license or identification card, charging these individuals $200 per vehicle for this service. He registered vehicles that didn’t have the proper documentation for $500 to $1,000 per vehicle. He also renewed vehicles that hadn’t passed emissions tests by falsely claiming the vehicles were exempt, usually charging $100 per vehicle for this service.
Harris received about $30,000 in bribes.
After Harris was terminated last year, he allegedly admitted the scheme to the FBI. But that didn’t stop him from continuing to accept bribes.
After his arrest, he met with an unnamed individual at an Atlanta gas station. The individual, who didn’t know Harris had been terminated, gave Harris registration documentation for four vehicles and provided bribes to have them registered. When the registrations didn’t happen, the individual asked for their money and documentation back. Harris responded by telling the individual he was under investigation by the FBI and was captured on video meeting with the individual. Harris demanded individual pay him money so he wouldn’t turn them over to the FBI.
“Mr. Harris traded his integrity for money and, in doing so, dishonored the hard work and dedication exemplified by the vast majority of DeKalb County employees. Today, Mr. Harris is being held accountable for his crimes,” DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said. “The DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, along with its law enforcement partners, will continue to seek and root out corruption, restoring the public’s trust in its government.”
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