South Georgia mayor arrested on fraud charges - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia mayor arrested on fraud charges

August 28, 2002

Dawson Mayor Robert Albritten has been indicted on two dozen charges relating to insurance fraud. At 11:00 Wednesday morning, Robert Albritten was taken into custody.

That was one hour after a Dougherty County grand jury handed down a 28-count indictment against him. Prosecutors say Albritten was running a scam, preying on the sick and elderly and making money off of it.

Prosecutors say Albritten, an insurance salesman, falsified life insurance policies on 11 people who lived at Quality Personal Care Home in Albany and made the home the beneficiary. "He was selling life insurance policies to people who's deaths were imminent. It's the first time I've seen anything like this and it's heinous," said Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine.

Albritten's scam came to light after 59-year old Pearlie Johnson was arrested last year. She owned Quality Care Personal Care Home and was charged with failure to seek medical care for 82-year-old James Burton. He died, and prosecutors say Robert Albritten collected his life insurance proceeds.

Albritten's lawyer says he doesn't believe it. "I've represented Mr. Albritten for 30 years. I know him to be an honorable man who would not knowingly break any laws," said attorney Jim Collier.

People who've known Robert Albritten as their mayor for 11 years are shocked by his arrest. "I always thought he was a nice guy," said Dawson Resident Eddie Small.

And now the Secretary of State's office is trying to decide whether to suspend Albritten's funeral director's license. Mayor Albritten signed a five thousand dollar bond and was released from custody around 12:30 Wednesday afternoon.

posted at 5:35PM by dawnh@walb.com and dave.miller@walb.com