ALPHARETTA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO OBSTRUCT JUSTICE IN CIVIL LAWSUIT
July 1, 2011
Pefanis Offered False Affidavit and Lied During Testimony
in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
ATLANTA, GA - JAMES PEFANIS, 46, of Alpharetta, Georgia, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal district court to conspiracy to obstruct of justice, relating to a deception and false testimony in a federal civil case.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: PEFANIS was the owner and Chief Executive Officer of “AME Financial Corporation,” a mortgage brokerage located in Alpharetta, Georgia. In October 2007, an attorney representing a former AME employee, named as “Jane Doe,” sent a letter to PEFANIS stating that the former employee intended to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against PEFANIS based upon events that allegedly took place on August 16, 2007, in the presence of another employee, named as “John Doe.” Following his receipt of the letter, PEFANIS asked John Doe to sign a false statement, which PEFANIS had typed, denying that he recalled what had happened on that date.
Jane Doe subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against PEFANIS in federal district court in the Northern District of Georgia. The false “John Doe Statement” was filed in the case on PEFANIS’s behalf. PEFANIS also then falsely testified under oath at a hearing in federal district court, saying that John Doe had provided him with the information contained in the false John Doe statement.
PEFANIS was indicted in December 2010, on one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, two counts of obstruction of justice, and one count of perjury. He pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. He could receive a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 13, 2011, at 11:00 a.m., before United States District Judge Richard J. Story.
This case is being investigated by Inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Assistant United States Attorneys Shanya J. Dingle and Mary Jane Stewart are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.