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Justice News

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Former Richmond County Coroner Sentenced To Three Years In Prison For Credit Card Fraud

Augusta, GA: Grover F. Tuten, Jr., 72, the former Coroner for Richmond County, Georgia, was sentenced today to 36 months in prison by United States District Court Judge J. Randal Hall after pleading guilty to his repeated use of a deceased person’s debit card without authorization.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, the victim passed away on August 24, 2012.  Afterwards, and while he was the Richmond County Coroner, Tuten obtained the victim’s bank card from the victim’s caretaker.  Tuten proceeded to unlawfully make 33 ATM withdrawals in the Augusta area.  Many of these withdrawals were captured on bank surveillance video.  Tuten unlawfully received $9,800 in cash as a result of his theft.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver stated, “The crimes admitted here are troubling.  Our elected officials are sworn to serve the community, not themselves.  This activity erodes the public’s trust in its government and their elected officials.  This United States Attorney’s Office will continue to work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to uncover public corruption and to prosecute public officials who have violated the public’s trust.”    

J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “Today’s sentencing in federal court holds former Richmond County Coroner Tuten accountable for his greed-driven criminal conduct.  This conduct was made all the more reprehensible in that the victim was a deceased person under the charge of his office.  The FBI will continue to provide significant investigative resources toward identifying and presenting for prosecution those officials engaged in public corruption.”

Tuten still faces state charges of theft by taking and violation of oath by a public officer and is being prosecuted by District Attorney Ashley Wright of the Augusta Judicial Circuit.

Tuten’s state and federal cases were investigated by Special Agent Charles E. McKee of the FBI.  Assistant United States Attorney Lamont A. Belk prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

Updated September 16, 2015