Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Former DeKalb Police Lieutenant Indicted for Bribery

WILLIE DAREN DURRETT, 45, of Atlanta, was arraigned today (March 7) before United States Magistrate Judge C. Christopher Hagy. DURRETT faces federal charges of accepting bribes in return for taking official action as a sergeant, and later as a lieutenant, with the DeKalb County Police Department. Co-defendant DONALD E. FRANK, who was previously indicted for accepting bribes while he served as deputy chief of police for DeKalb County, is also named in the indictment and faces the same charges. AMIN BUDHWANI previously pleaded guilty to paying bribes to FRANK.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, “Our community expects and deserves police officers who will serve the citizens and not sell their badge to someone holding out cash. In this case, the officer placed his personal and financial interests ahead of the public he was sworn to serve. Combatting public corruption will continue to be a top priority for this office.”

Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “The FBI is fully prepared to undertake these types of public corruption investigations and fully understands the impact that these types of activities can have, if left unchecked, on the proper operation of a government or police agency. The public deserves better than the actions of this officer and is reminded that the FBI should be contacted with regard to any information involving police or government corruption.”

“I support the continued efforts of federal authorities to efface public corruption,” said DeKalb County Police Chief William O’Brien. “Willie Durrett resigned from the DeKalb County Police Department weeks before this indictment and prior to our agency having the opportunity to take disciplinary action. It is reprehensible that this former lieutenant chose to violate the law instead of upholding it. It is acts such as this that undermine law enforcement's efforts to maintain public trust.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: DURRETT accepted bribes from BUDHWANI on three separate occasions in 2007 and 2008. DURRETT resigned this past Monday.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

DURRETT and FRANK were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 1, 2011. BUDHWANI was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 18, 2010, and pleaded guilty on June 1, 2010.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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