Businessman Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Bribing Former Gwinnett County Commissioner
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 27, 2013|
ATLANTA—Mark Gary has been sentenced for bribing former Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Lasseter in 2009 to secure approval of a proposed waste transfer station in which he held a personal stake.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Businessmen who pay to play are making a losing bet. Mr. Gary will now pay with his freedom for corrupting Gwinnett County’s approval of competing real estate developments.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “Today’s sentencing illustrates the consequences of bypassing proper procedures of securing contracts and doing business with government agencies. The FBI will continue to provide its investigative resources and expertise in addressing public corruption matters at all levels of government.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: Mark Gary is a local Gwinnett County businessman. In or about October 2008, Gary sought to develop a $4 million solid waste transfer station, which would serve as a way station in the trash collection process, consolidating trash from haulers for shipment to more distant landfills. Gary submitted the necessary application to obtain the requisite county approvals and permits, which required approval by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.
Shirley Lasseter was elected to the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners as the District 1 representative in the fall of 2008 and took office in January 2009. Gary worked to help get Lasseter elected as a county commissioner. Almost immediately after taking office, Lasseter appointed Gary to the Gwinnett County Planning Commission.
In March or April 2009, Gary spoke with Lasseter and her son, John Fanning, about Gary’s pending application to allow development of the solid waste transfer station. Gary offered money to Lasseter and Fanning, who discussed amounts with Gary of as much as $100,000 in exchange for Lasseter’s commission vote to approve the pending application. Given her public position and to avoid any scrutiny, Lasseter directed Gary to speak with and to provide the money to Fanning.
Gary’s permit application came before the commission for approval on April 28, 2009. Consistent with her agreement with Gary, Lasseter voted to approve the development. Several months later, Gary lived up to his end of the bargain. In June 2009, Gary paid Fanning $30,000. Gary paid this amount by giving Fanning $30,000 worth of chips at an out-of-state casino.
Gary, 40, of Duluth, Georgia, was sentenced to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Gary was convicted on October 1, 2012, after he pleaded guilty to an information charging him with this crime.
Lasseter was sentenced on September 5, 2012, to serve two years, nine months in prison for her role in accepting illegal bribes. Her son, John Fanning, was sentenced on September 18, 2012, to four years, nine months in prison for his role in soliciting and accepting illegal bribes for his mother, as well as a drug offense.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Douglas W. Gilfillan prosecuted 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 Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.