Two Forsyth City Councilmen Sentenced for Accepting Bribes
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 03, 2013|
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces that two former councilmen of the city of Forsyth, Georgia, James Edward Calloway and Desi Surtane Hansford, were sentenced by the Honorable Marc T. Treadwell in United States District Court in Macon, Georgia, today for accepting bribes in connection with the performance of their official duties.
The defendants entered guilty pleas on September 3, 2013. Facts stipulated in the written plea agreements of the two men show the following:
Mr. Calloway had been a councilman for 22 years and Mr. Hansford for five. Both served on the Combined Utilities Committee of the Council, which oversees electric, water, sewer, and telecommunications for the city of Forsyth.
On December 27, 2012, Mr. Calloway solicited a bribe from a water and waste treatment company of $20,000 to guarantee the votes to give it the water waste contract for the City. That company immediately notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the solicitation and cooperated fully and actively with that agency throughout the investigation, which revealed that at least in part Mr. Calloway’s motive in soliciting the payment was to help Councilman Hansford rescue his home from foreclosure.
A representative of the water and waste treatment company, cooperating with the FBI, met with the two councilmen on January 18,2013, at a truck stop off I-75 in Jackson, Georgia, and paid them $10,000 in currency provided by the FBI while secretly recording the meeting per FBI instructions. Mr. Calloway assured the company representative that the company would recover the amount of the bribe through a future project on which the company would be employed. Following this meeting and payment, Mr. Calloway and Mr. Hansford split the money equally.
A second $10,000 payment was delivered to Mr. Calloway one week later, January 25, 2013, under similar circumstances to the first, after which he was immediately arrested and subsequently confessed. He also admitted receiving four Atlanta Falcons playoff tickets from the company, which he and Mr. Hansford shared.
Mr. Calloway then cooperated with the government and participated in paying an additional $5000 (half the second $10,000 payment) to Mr. Hansford, who was then also arrested.
Mr. Calloway was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine.
Mr. Hansford received a sentence of 18 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3000.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sonja Profit.
“When people entrust elected officials with public office, they have a right to expect that those positions of authority will be used for the public good, not for personal gain. By prosecuting these offenses, I hope that we remind other public officials that they are not above the law and that we restore the public’s confidence in the many government officials who choose to serve so that they can truly make a positive impact,” said United States Attorney Michael J. Moore. Ricky Maxwell, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Atlanta Field Office, stated, “While most individuals, elected or otherwise, who choose to serve the public do so admirably and honorably, the need to be vigilant for corrupt or criminal activity remains. The FBI continues to carry its Public Corruption Program as its number one criminal investigative priority due to the vast potential for harm that exists. We ask that anyone with information regarding public corruption related matters please contact their nearest FBI field office.”
For additional information, please contact Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2603.