Forsyth city councilmen accepted bribes to avoid foreclosure
Yesterday, two former Forsyth city councilmen pleaded guilty to accepting bribes during the performance of their city duties. One of the men was a 20-year veteran of the city council and the other had been a member for five years. They apparently solicited and accepted a bribe from a water and waste treatment company, agreeing to get the company a city contract, with the aim of helping one of the men save his home from foreclosure.
After pleading guilty, each man is now facing up to 10 years in prison as well as fines of up to $250,000.
One of the councilmen solicited the $20,000 bribe in December 2012. The company reported the bribe to the FBI. In January 2013, in cooperation with an FBI investigation, a representative of the company met with the councilmen and paid the men half of the bribe. Shortly after this, the men were arrested.
Sentencing will take place in a couple of months after a background report is completed on each man.
This criminal case is very complicated, but it is also illustrates the desperation that often sets in when people are at risk of losing their homes. A home is often a family’s most valuable possession, and the thought of losing this can be terrifying. In the case in Forsyth, this fear appears to have motivated public officials to lose sight of their professionalism and the public trust.
Those who are facing foreclosure in Georgia should be aware that there may be legitimate ways to stop foreclosure.
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Two Forsyth City Councilmen Plead Guilty to Accepting Bribes,” Sept. 3, 2013