FBI Atlanta DCLA Award for 2014 Goes to WSB-TV Investigative Reporter Jodie Fleischer
Today, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) J. Britt Johnson, FBI Atlanta, presented the Director’s Award for Community Leadership for 2014 to Jodie Fleischer, investigative teporter, WSB-TV (ABC affiliate), Atlanta, Georgia, for her efforts, achievements, and extraordinary contributions toward the education and the prevention of crime and violence in not only the Atlanta area but within the state of Georgia concerning the growing activities of an anti-government movement known as Sovereign Citizens Extremism. On April 3, 2015, FBI Director James B. Comey will host all of the FBI’s 56 selectees from around the country at a national ceremony to be held at FBI Headquarters with Ms. Fleischer present as Atlanta FBI’s honoree.
Ms. Fleischer, in her role as an investigative reporter with WSB-TV, a major news media outlet in Atlanta, has had significant involvement in creating and pushing forward multiple investigative news stories involving Sovereign Citizens and their taking over high-dollar homes or businesses that are either vacant or being foreclosed upon through the use of quit claim deeds or other false filings. Ms. Fleischer has not only educated our citizens regarding these criminal acts but also our area law enforcement and, more importantly, our state legislative and executive branch of government, resulting in new and appropriate state legislation that better addresses and closes the loophole that had previously allowed for this criminal conduct.
Ms. Fleischer, in addition, further demonstrated leadership by often coordinating her investigative reporting efforts with those investigative efforts of area law enforcement, to include that of the FBI. Through Ms. Fleischer’s tenacity, information sharing among the numerous jurisdictions regarding the activities of these individuals was made easier and her stories reflected the cohesive efforts of law enforcement.
Earlier this year, Ms. Fleischer approached Georgia State Representatives Tom Kirby (Loganville) and Ed Lindsey (Atlanta) after she found that a group of self-avowed Sovereign Citizens whose scheme she had already exposed got out of jail and used fake deeds to steal even more houses.
As a result of those efforts, on April 24, 2014, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 985 into law, thereby better protecting all Georgia homeowners from those who would file fake deeds. The law also makes filing, signing, or witnessing those deeds a felony. This bill, and now law, has been lauded by Georgia’s banking industry in that foreclosures and other empty houses have been a favorite target for fraudsters who often break in and then live in the homes.
In recognition of her leadership and involvement in advancing GA HB 985, Ms. Fleischer was invited by Governor Deal to stand by his side as he signed the bill into law.