Fidelis Ogbu, 59, and Neacacha Joyner, 40, both of DeKalb County, were indicted March 6 on federal charges of extortion and bribery. They are expected to be arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Gerrilyn G. Brill later this week.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “The citizens of DeKalb County are entitled to employees who serve the public, not extort them. We will continue to vigorously prosecute public employees who abuse the public’s trust to line their own pockets.”
Brian D. Lamkin, special agent in charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The actions of the defendants, as alleged in this indictment, serve as the core definition of public corruption. Public officials who attempt to personally profit from others who are merely trying to engage the government in otherwise legitimate business will not be tolerated and the FBI will continue its efforts in identifying, investigating, and presenting for prosecution those individuals engaged in such activity.”
According to Yates and court information, Ogbu, an engineering supervisor, and Joyner, a construction inspector, are believed to have exploited their positions with the DeKalb County Department of Public Works to extort money from a private contractor hired to work on a sidewalk construction project. Ogbu and Joyner are charged with executing a “pay to play” scheme, in which they compelled the contractor to pay them off to complete the project, avoid unnecessary work delays and gain future projects.
On March 6, a federal grand jury returned separate indictments charging Ogbu and Joyner with extortion and bribery. Extortion, the more serious charge, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis is prosecuting the case.