Jury Convicts Former DeKalb Police Lieutenant for Bribery
Willie Daren Durrett Accepted Thousands of Dollars in Bribes
in Exchange for Performing Official Police Actions
ATLANTA - Today a federal jury convicted a former officer with the DeKalb County Police Department, Willie Daren Durrett, on federal charges of accepting bribes from a local businessman and conspiring with former DeKalb County Deputy Chief of Police Donald Frank to accept bribes. While accepting thousands of dollars in bribes, Durrett served as a Sergeant with the DeKalb County Police Department, and later as a Lieutenant.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, “A police officer’s badge carries with it a responsibility to protect and serve the public with the highest degree of loyalty and honesty. This officer violated that trust by using his badge to intimidate the public he should have been protecting for his own personal gain. This office will continue to vigorously prosecute corruption at all levels of public service.”
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “Every law enforcement officer, having sworn an oath to uphold the law, quickly becomes schooled in the temptations of the job and the boundaries which they dare not cross. Today’s guilty verdict brings to a close one man’s law enforcement career because he gave in to those temptations and crossed those boundaries.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From September 2008 through August 2009, Willie Daren Durrett, who was then serving as a DeKalb County Police Lieutenant, conspired with Donald E. Frank, who was then serving as the Deputy Chief of Police for DeKalb County, to accept money from an area businessman, Amin Budhwani, 48, of Atlanta, in exchange for influence and official actions as DeKalb County police officers. The jury convicted Durrett of participating in this conspiracy, and on two counts of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from Budhwani between 2007 and 2008. The jury acquitted Durrett on a third count of accepting a bribe.
The evidence at trial indicated that Budhwani initially approached Durrett in 2007 to help him intimidate a small business owner with whom Budhwani had a dispute. Durrett made threatening phone calls to this man while identifying himself as a DeKalb County police officer, which resulted in the business owner paying Budhwani over $10,000 to settle the dispute. Later in 2008, Durrett helped Budhwani with a matter involving a business partner with whom Budhwani had a disagreement.
Budhwani paid Durrett thousands of dollars in cash for using his position as a DeKalb County Police Officer to assist Budhwani with these matters. Durrett resigned from the DeKalb County Police Department in 2011. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 1, 2011.
Co-defendant Donald E. Frank, 48, pleaded guilty on April 1, 2011, to a Criminal Information that charged him with one count of conspiracy to take bribes while he served as a Deputy Chief of Police for DeKalb County. Amin Budhwani pleaded guilty in 2010 to paying bribes to Frank. Both cooperated and testified against Durrett during Durrett’s federal trial.
The conspiracy charge for which Durrett was convicted carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Each bribery charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00. 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 for Durrett has been set for September 27, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. before United States District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher C. Bly, David M. Chaiken and Susan Coppedge are 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.