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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Former Georgia County Commissioner Convicted of Extortion

A federal jury in Atlanta convicted a former commissioner of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners today for extorting a DeKalb County subcontractor in connection with a $1.8 million contract.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from about May 2014 to August 2014, Sharon Barnes Sutton, 63, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, demanded monthly payments of $500 from a subcontractor, later increasing her demand to $1,000 per month. The subcontractor made the first $500 payment in June 2014 at a restaurant in Decatur and the second $500 cash payment in July 2014 at Barnes Sutton’s residence. The FBI disrupted Barnes Sutton’s continued demands in August 2014. Separately, Barnes Sutton also accepted a $5,000 cash bribe from an FBI confidential source who had business before the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.

Barnes Sutton was convicted of two counts of extortion. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 6, 2023 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement.

The FBI Atlanta Field Office investigated the case.

Senior Litigation Counsel Victor R. Salgado and Trial Attorney Jordan Dickson of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section (PIN) are prosecuting the case. Former PIN Trial Attorney Amanda Vaughn assisted in the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 
22-1185
Updated November 2, 2022