Making False Statements to Federal Agent
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Michael Howard, age 43, former chief of police in Talbotton, Georgia entered a plea of guilty to a one count indictment charging him with False Statements, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1001.
During his guilty plea, Howard admitted that on or about June 22, 2011, he did knowingly and willfully make a false, fraudulent, and fictitious material statement and representation to a federal agent by denying that he was aware that a known drug dealer had transported narcotics through Talbot County, Georgia. The informant told Howard he had $15,000.00 and would be traveling through Talbot County for a drug transaction, asking if Howard would be interested in helping him by providing cover. Howard expressed interest in the transaction, but declined due to the fact that he was off duty and not wearing his uniform, and therefore would not be of any assistance. Howard, however, told the FBI that he had not been shown the money, which was false and he knew the statement to be false.
The defendant faces a maximum penalty of a five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000.00, or both, and up to three years supervised release, and a mandatory assessment fee of $100.00. Sentencing is scheduled for April 25, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Michael Moore stated that, “No one is above the law. The public trust that those who wear the badge uphold is sacred, and violations of that trust are inexcusable and will be prosecuted.”
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “Former Chief Howard chose to lie to federal investigators during a broad investigation wherein four other area law enforcement officials have already been indicted. This conduct cannot be condoned and the FBI will continue to aggressively pursue such matters to ensure that the public trust of its law enforcement officers is not compromised”.
Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Atlanta Field Division stated, “The vast majority of law enforcement officers serve the public with honor and distinction. This type of activity tarnishes the badge of the committed men and women of law enforcement.”
The investigation was conducted by Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2602.