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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 5, 2018

Mitzi Bickers arraigned on new bribery charge relating to Mississippi pay-to-play scheme

ATLANTA - Mitzi Bickers has been charged in a superseding indictment with an additional bribery charge relating to an alleged Jackson, Mississippi pay-to-play scheme.  In April 2018, Bickers was charged with 11 other federal offenses, including conspiring to commit bribery, wire fraud, money-laundering, federal obstruction and tax fraud.  The federal grand jury investigating this matter returned the superseding indictment on October 22, 2018.

“Bickers allegedly provided flights, limousines, hotel rooms, expensive food and entertainment to Jackson’s mayor and other city officials in an attempt to secure lucrative government contracts,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “Her plans eventually unraveled though when she publically bragged that the mayor promised her the contracts and she just needed to ensure the paperwork looked good enough.”

“It is vitally important that government contracts go to the most qualified bidders through a fair and transparent process,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top priorities, and along with our partners in law enforcement, we will not tolerate those who try to circumvent proper government procedures.”

“This latest indictment represents a pattern and practice when it comes to Bickers’ political activities of pay-to-play,” said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge,  IRS- Criminal Investigation. “We are going to continue our efforts and we will not leave a stone unturned until all those who have engaged in corrupt political practices for personal gain are brought to justice.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court:  In February 2014, the former mayor of the City of Jackson died in office.  As a result of the incumbent mayor’s death, the City of Jackson held a Special Mayoral Election in the spring of 2014.  In March and April 2014, Bickers assisted a candidate with his campaign for mayor of the City of Jackson.  On April 22, 2014, the candidate (“Mayor”) was elected Mayor of the City of Jackson.

Beginning in March 2014, Bickers allegedly hosted parties and paid for food, airline flights, hotels, chauffeured car services, entertainment, fundraisers and campaign services for the Mayor and other City of Jackson officials in an effort to influence and reward these public officials, all in an effort to secure government contracts.  Elvin R. Mitchell, Jr. helped to fund many of these activities.  Mitchell was convicted in this case of conspiring to bribe City of Atlanta officials and was sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Bickers then allegedly met with the Mayor and other City of Jackson officials to discuss city contracts.  In May 2015, as she was preparing to submit a contract proposal, Bickers met with a city official.  During this meeting, she allegedly bragged that the Mayor had promised her the city contract and that she simply needed to ensure that her paperwork looked good enough to pass muster.  In June 2015, Bickers teamed with another company and ultimately submitted a proposal for work relating to Jackson’s Wastewater Consent Decree Program Management Services Contract.

Mitzi Bickers, 51, of Atlanta, Georgia, was arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Justin Anand.  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 FBI and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine; Chief of the Public Integrity and Special Matters Section Jeffrey W. Davis; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Sanders are 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.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated November 5, 2018