News and Press Releases

Extortion by a public official

June 22, 2011
            Michael J.  Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Charlie Stephens, age 76, Jeff Sivell, age unknown, and Alvin Malone, age 32, all certified law enforcement officers working for the Sheriff’s Department in Talbot County, Georgia were charged in individual indictments for violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951, Extortion By A Public Official.  Arrest warrants were executed today on Stephens, Sivell and Malone.

            An undercover operation conducted by federal agents revealed that the defendants were extorting money from individuals by wrongful use of actual and threatened force, violence, and fear, and under color of official right.  The individuals from whom the defendants extorted money were actually undercover federal agents and persons cooperating with federal authorities.

            The defendants each face a maximum penalty of a $250,000.00 fine or imprisonment of not more than twenty (20) years, or both along with five (5) years supervised release and a mandatory assessment fee of $100.00.

            An indictment is only an accusation, and the accuseds are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial.

            John S. Comer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Atlanta Field Division stated, “The vast majority of law enforcement officers serve the public with honor and distinction.  This type of activity tarnishes the badge of the committed men and women of law enforcement.”

            The investigation was conducted by Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

            Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2602.