Corrupt Dealb County Engineering Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Extortion
Private Construction Contractor Forced to 'Pay to Play'
ATLANTA, GA - FIDELIS OGBU, 59, of DeKalb County, Georgia, pleaded guilty to extortion today before United States District Judge Richard W. Story.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “The citizens of DeKalb County deserve to have public servants within the DeKalb County Department of Public Works who fairly and honestly perform their jobs. During Mr. Ogbu’s tenure as a public official with DeKalb County, he violated both the law and the public’s trust by extorting money in return for awarding a contract. He must be held accountable for his dishonest acts.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: OGBU, an Engineering Supervisor for DeKalb County Department of Public Works - Transportation, exploited his position by extorting money from a private construction contractor, who was working with law enforcement as a good Samaritan confidential source. OGBU executed a “pay to play” scheme, in which he compelled the contractor to pay him off in order for the contractor to complete the project and to gain future work.
More specifically, in September 2010, a private construction company was awarded a federally funded contract by DeKalb County, Georgia, to construct sidewalks near the intersection of S. Hairston Road and Wesley Chapel Road. The total bid for the project was more than $1.4 million. OGBU was the DeKalb County Engineering Supervisor of the project.
On July 18, 2011, OGBU and the contractor met to discuss the design and construction of a driveway on S. Hairston Road in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Depending on the design, the contractor estimated that the driveway would cost between $30,000 and $50,000 to construct. OGBU agreed to approve funding for project, so long as the contractor agreed to paid off OGBU.
On July 19, 2011, the contractor again met with OGBU. During their meeting, OGBU demanded that the contractor pay him approximately $30,000; implying that without the payment the contractor would lose the driveway job and that the project would be completed by DeKalb County's Roads and Drainage Department.
On August 31, 2011, the contractor met with OGBU in Stone Mountain, Georgia in order for the contractor to pay OGBU part of the $30,000 demand. During the meeting, the contractor gave OGBU a $9800 payment.
On September 16, 2011, the contractor again met with OGBU in Stone Mountain, Georgia and gave OGBU a $8500 payment.
Finally, on November 4, 2011, the contractor met with OGBU to pay him $9800. Before the payment was made, law enforcement officers arrested OGBU.
On March 6, 2012, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging OGBU with extortion and bribery. Today, he pleaded guilty to the most serious of the charges – extortion. The extortion charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 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.
The sentencing date has not yet been set.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney's Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (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.