Sumter commissioner sentenced for attempted extortion, bribery - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sumter commissioner sentenced for attempted extortion, bribery

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From the U. S. Attorney's Office-                                                        

WASHINGTON — Al J. Hurley, a former county commissioner in Sumter County, Ga., was sentenced today to 36 months in prison stemming from his acceptance of illicit payments in exchange for his official efforts to secure government contracts for a private contractor, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and Middle District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore announced.

Hurley, 55, of Americus, Ga., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands.  On Dec. 3, 2012, a federal jury sitting in the Albany Division of the Middle District of Georgia found Hurley guilty of one count each of attempted extortion and federal program bribery.

Hurley was first elected to the five-member Sumter County board of commissioners in 1999.  As the primary governing body for the county, the board presided over a variety of official matters, including the bidding process for and award of various county contracts.

Evidence at trial showed that from September to December 2011, Hurley, in his capacity as a county commissioner, solicited and agreed to accept cash payments – including $5,000 on Oct. 23, 2011, and $15,000 on Dec. 19, 2011 – from a private contractor, in exchange for Hurley's repeated promises to use official action and influence to help facilitate the award of county contracting work to the contractor.

In particular, Hurley told the contractor that he would help him win a $100,000 depot renovation contract in a city within Hurley's district.  Trial testimony also established that, in order to drive up the bribe amount, Hurley invented two inside contacts that he claimed to have at a new racetrack project in his district, and claimed the contacts could influence the award of related contracting work in favor of the contractor.  Hurley, who testified, admitted the contacts did not exist.

 "An indispensable part of a democracy is the right of citizens to choose their leaders.  Inherent in that process is the ability of the public to trust the people they elect.  Instead of honoring that trust and serving his constituents, Mr. Hurley chose to exploit his position and enrich himself.  When elected leaders put their positions up for sale, my office will be there to make sure they are held accountable," said United States Attorney Michael Moore.

This case was investigated by the FBI. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Eric G. Olshan of the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney K. Alan Dasher of the Middle District of Georgia.