News and Press Releases

County Commissioner Convicted in Georgia for Attempted Extortion and Bribery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2012

WASHINGTON — A federal jury in Albany, Ga., convicted Sumter County, Ga., County Commissioner Al J. Hurley late yesterday on corruption charges stemming from his acceptance of illicit payments in exchange for his official efforts to secure government contracts for a private contractor, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Middle District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore announced.

Hurley, 54, of Americus, Ga., was found guilty of one count each of attempted extortion and federal program bribery.

Hurley was first elected to the five-member board of commissioners in 1999. As the primary governing body for the county, the board presided over a variety of official matters, including the bidding process for and award of various county contracts.

Evidence at trial showed that from September to December 2011, Hurley, in his capacity as a county commissioner, solicited and agreed to accept cash payments – including $5,000 on Oct. 23, 2011, and $15,000 on Dec. 19, 2011 – from a private contractor, in exchange for Hurley’s repeated promises to use official action and influence to help facilitate the award of county contracting work to the contractor.

In particular, Hurley told the contractor that he would help him win a $100,000 depot renovation contract in a city within Hurley’s district. Trial testimony also established that, in order to drive up the bribe amount, Hurley invented two inside contacts that he claimed to have at a new racetrack project in his district, and claimed the contacts could influence the award of related contracting work in favor of the contractor. Hurley, who testified, admitted the contacts did not exist.

Hurley faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison for the attempted extortion charge and 10 years in prison on the bribery charge. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

“This type of criminal conduct strikes at the heart of our democratic process. Good citizens elect leaders like county commissioners, to represent them on all levels of government – and they have the legitimate expectation that the people they choose will do so honorably and in accordance with the law. We will not tolerate public corruption in Middle Georgia,” said United States Attorney Michael Moore.

This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Eric G. Olshan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney K. Alan Dasher of the Middle District of Georgia. This case was investigated by the FBI.

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