Richard A. Chafin, former Sheriff of Brooks County, Georgia Sentenced to Prison
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Richard A. Chafin, age, 59, the former sheriff of Brooks County, Georgia, was sentenced today to thirteen (13) months of imprisonment and three (3) years of supervised release. Chafin was also ordered to pay restitution to Brooks County in the amount of $63,730.00.
Chafin, was tried in May 2010, in a bench trial before the Honorable W. Louis Sands in United States District Court in Albany, Georgia. Judge Sands issued an Order on April 27, 2012, finding Chafin guilty to both Counts of the Indictment. Count One charged Chafin with Embezzlement from Programs Receiving Federal Funds, a violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 666, and Count Two charged Chafin with Obstruction of Justice, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1512(b)3. The government charged that from January 1, 2007, through December 30, 2008, Chafin embezzled monies from Brooks County funds. Thereafter, on April 3, 2009, Chafin obstructed justice by falsely claiming that he had given the missing funds to a confidential informant, a person whose identity was known only to Chafin, and who had later committed suicide.
Judge Sands wrote in his Order: “The evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant personally wrote at least 225 checks on the jail commissary account totaling more than $65,000. Defendant represented to employees in his office that the checks were for an informant in a large drug investigation. However, Defendant personally cashed each check at various convenience stores and used portions of the proceeds to buy lottery tickets which he then scratched off on-site in his vehicle. None of the required forms for the use of informants were completed or witnessed consistent with the applicable policy known to Defendant. [ . . . ] Thus, the Court finds beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant’s statements to the GBI agent were not only knowingly false but that they were willfully false made for the purpose of misleading and hindering the investigating agent . . . ” )(Order of 4/27/12, Crim. No. 7:09-CR-18, doc. # 34, p. 19).
Chafin had been the elected Sheriff from April 1987 until December 31, 2008.
U.S. Attorney Moore said, “The public counts on their elected Sheriffs to uphold the law, not break it. By embezzling money and then lying to the agents who were investigating the case, Mr. Chafin violated the public’s trust. My office will continue to make public corruption cases a priority with the goal of restoring the shine to the badge that former Sheriff Chafin tarnished.”
The maximum possible penalty for Count One is ten (10) years imprisonment. The maximum penalty for count two is twenty (20) years imprisonment. Both offenses allow a maximum fine of $250,000 and three (3) years of supervised release. The defendant remains on bond pending surrender to the Bureau of Prisons. The investigation was conducted by Special Agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Assistant United States Attorney Jim Crane handled the prosecution.