ALPHARETTA MAN SENTENCED FOR CONSPIRING TO OBSTRUCT JUSTICE IN CIVIL LAWSUIT
October 24, 2011
Pefanis Offered False Affidavit and Lied During Testimony
in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
ATLANTA, GA - JAMES PEFANIS, 46, of Alpharetta, Georgia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Richard W. Story to nine months’ time served in federal prison on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice relating to false evidence and testimony presented to a federal court in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
“It is essential that we preserve and protect the integrity of the legal system. This defendant attempted to tip the scales of justice in his favor by fabricating evidence and testifying falsely, undermining the court’s ability to do justice,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “This conviction should serve as notice that fraud on the courts will not be tolerated.”
PEFANIS was sentenced to nine months of time served in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. PEFANIS was convicted of the charges on June 30, 2011, upon his plea of guilty.
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 firm located in Alpharetta, Georgia. In October 2007, an attorney representing a former AME employee, identified 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 took place on August 16, 2007, in the presence of another employee, identified as "John Doe." Following his receipt of the letter, PEFANIS asked John Doe to sign a statement, which PEFANIS had typed, denying that Doe recalled what had happened on that date. That statement was false, as in fact John Doe did recall the incident.
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 to the one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Assistant United States Attorney Shanya J. Dingle prosecuted 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.