Brookhaven man indicted for extorting criminal defendant with false claim that prosecutor demanded bribe
ATLANTA - Jamal Harrison has been charged with wire fraud in a six-count federal indictment for extorting a criminal defendant who had been charged in a federal case in Atlanta. During the scheme, Harrison falsely claimed that the federal prosecutor would dismiss the charges in the defendant's case for $15,000.
“Harrison allegedly promised a favorable outcome in the victim’s federal case when instead it was just a scam,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “If a member of the public is asked to pay a bribe, don’t pay it and call the FBI immediately.”
“Every American citizen has rights under our Constitution and should report anyone who attempts to bribe them,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “No matter who the victim is, the FBI will fully investigate any allegations of a crime.”
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Erskine, the indictment, and other information presented in court: In July 2020, “Person 1,” an Atlanta resident, was arrested on a criminal indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Upon conviction for one or more of the crimes charged in the federal case, Person 1 was subject to a term of imprisonment, a term of supervised release, and other penalties and fines.
In August 2020, Harrison learned about the arrest and met with Person 1. During this meeting, Harrison saw a copy of the criminal indictment in Person 1’s case. Harrison then allegedly claimed that he was a part-time employee of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and knew the federal prosecutor in Person 1’s case. Harrison allegedly asserted that he could get the charges against Person 1 dismissed for $15,000, which he would give to the federal prosecutor. Person 1 refused.
Days later, Harrison met with Person 1 again. This time, Harrison threatened that if Person 1 still refused to pay the $15,000, the federal prosecutor would file additional charges against Person 1 and seek a longer term of imprisonment upon conviction. Person 1, fearing Harrison’s threat, agreed to pay and did pay Harrison $12,000 in cash. After making the payment, Harrison falsely claimed that he gave the money to the federal prosecutor, who would dismiss the charges against Person 1. In truth, however, Harrison allegedly kept the payment for himself. Harrison also stated that the federal case might be dismissed faster if Person 1 could provide more money.
By January 2021, the federal case against Person 1 remained active. Around this time, Person 1 and their attorney met with the prosecutor and agents in the federal case, and Person 1 realized that Harrison had deceived and extorted them. In early February 2021, Person 1 entered a guilty plea in the federal case. Later that month, however, Harrison continued to claim that he could get the charges dismissed if he received more money from Person 1. In March 2021, Person 1 recorded a meeting at which Person 1 gave Harrison $3,000 in cash, at which time Harrison allegedly guaranteed a speedy dismissal of the federal case.
On August 24, 2021, a grand jury returned an indictment against Jamal Harrison, 33, of Brookhaven, Georgia, on six counts of wire fraud. Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Trevor C. Wilmot is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.