Corrupt DeKalb County Construction Inspector Sentenced to Federal Prison for Extortion
Private Construction Contractor Forced to ‘Pay to Play’
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 19, 2012|
ATLANTA—Neacacha Joyner, 40, of DeKalb County, a Department of Public Works engineering supervisor with DeKalb County who extorted money from a private construction contractor, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Richard W. Story to serve two years, three months in federal prison on charges of extortion.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Ms. Joyner abused her position as a DeKalb County Public Works employee by shaking down a local contractor for payoffs. Today, she was sentenced to two years, three months in prison for violating the law and the public’s trust.
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “Today’s sentencing holds Ms. Joyner fully accountable for her corrupt actions while serving in the DeKalb County Department of Public Works. While the vast majority of those that serve the public are honest, hardworking individuals, this case should serve as a reminder to the public that the FBI will make such cases a high priority and asks the public to provide any information regarding public corruption to their nearest FBI field office.”
Joyner was sentenced to two years, three months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Joyner was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 6, 2012, on charges of extortion and bribery and entered a guilty plea on May 17, 2012.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: Joyner exploited her position with the DeKalb County Department of Public Works by extorting money from a private construction contractor. Joyner executed a “pay to play” scheme in which she compelled the contractor to pay her off in order for the contractor to complete the project, to avoid unnecessary work delays, and to gain future projects.
More specifically, in September 2010, a private construction company was awarded a federally funded contract by DeKalb County, Georgia, to construct sidewalks near the intersection of S. Hairston Road and Wesley Chapel Road. The total bid for the project was more than $1.4 million. Joyner was assigned to be the DeKalb County Construction Inspector for the project.
In early April 2011, the contractor was contacted by his employees and told that Joyner would not allow them to continue working on the project. The contractor then went to the project site, where Joyner demanded to be paid off in order for construction to continue. The contractor notified law enforcement of the demand, then acting at the direction of the FBI, the contractor met with Joyner in Decatur, Georgia, and gave her a $2,500 bribe payment.
Again, on May 20 and 31, 2011, the contractor met with Joyner in Decatur and paid her two separate $2,000 bribe payments.
On June 8, 2011, Joyner asked the contractor for another $3,000. Joyner instructed the contractor to submit a fraudulent bill to DeKalb County for the removal and relocation of four fire hydrants (that would not actually be removed or relocated). Joyner also directed the contractor to give her the money obtained from the fraudulent billing scheme. Pursuant to Joyner’s instructions, the contractor billed DeKalb County to remove or relocate several fire hydrants that were not actually removed or relocated. On June 16, 2011, the contractor met with Joyner and paid her $3,000.
This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information 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 www.justice.gov/usao/gan.