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Feds say Atlanta corruption investigation is expanding

ATLANTA – On the heels of another guilty plea, the top federal prosecutor in Atlanta said Wednesday that an ongoing investigation into corruption in the municipality has expanded and more resources are added.

The additional staff from the U. S. attorney’s office, the FBI and the u.s. tax authorities (IRS) are necessary “to end the investigation quickly and thoroughly,” the Attorney of the V. S. Byung J. “BJay” Pak told reporters. He added that he expects more indictments in the case, which has already seen charges against six people, including a number that are in high positions in the administration of the former mayor Kasim Reed.

Pak declined to comment on whether he expects the research to lead to misconduct by Reed, but he said that when there are repeated cases of corruption, “you should take a look at who sets the tone at the top.” Reed, a high-profile Democrat, was first elected mayor in 2009 and was term-limited when he left the office in January.

Pak encouraged someone else who might have violated the law to come forward.

“Of them, the question is not if, but when, we’re coming,” he said.

By accepting responsibility for their actions and the cooperation with the government, Pak said, “they will have the advantage and the possibility of a significant reduction of their criminal liability, and potentially even obtaining immunity from prosecution.”

Pak said after Katrina Taylor-Parks, who served as Reed’s deputy chief of staff, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. Parks, 49, was the sixth person charged as a result of the research.

Parks met privately with a city vendor multiple times from late 2011 until mid 2013, and they discussed the supplier the desire of the city in his work and how the seller can get it with sole-source contract with the city, the public prosecutor Jeffrey Davis said in court.

The seller is paid in Parks thousands of euros and paid for services on her behalf, and she knew that the seller wanted her to use her position and power to help him contracts, Davis said.

For example, the seller paid $2,000 to KTP Solutions, a company owned Parks, in January 2013 and again in March 2013, Davis said. From January to July 2013, the provider received five payments from the city to a total of $99,999.

Parks told U. S. District Judge Steve Jones that she was not aware at the time that they are engaging in illegal activities, but Pak told reporters the evidence shows that they did know.

Prosecutors say they also incorrectly listed in the annual financial disclosure statements that she was not self-employed and was only used by the city and that they never received more than $ 5,000 in annual income from a source other than the city. Parks never told the city about its ongoing financial relationship with the supplier.

In the interviews with the FBI in November last year and February of this year, Parks wrongly said that they have never taken money from the seller, the prosecutor said.

Parks will be sentenced later and faces up to five years in prison. Her plea agreement, according to the prosecutors asking for a sentence at the lower end of the applicable guidelines sentencing. Also as part of the plea deal, Parks agreed compensation and to cooperate with the government investigation.

A federal subpoena that targeted Parks in April also sought city credit card accounts, and other information for Reed; his brother, Tracy Reed, a former city employee; and the former city director of human services and political consultant Mitzi Cyclists.

Cyclists was indicted in March and accused of soliciting and accepting payments to help steer lucrative city contracts to two contractors and their companies. They pleaded not guilty. She also appeared in federal court Wednesday, where her lawyers asked for and received more time to review documents in the case.

Four other people have pled guilty and been sentenced to a term of imprisonment as a result of the research. They are the city’s former chief procurement officer, two contractors and a man in the service of the Cyclists who tried to intimidate one of the contractors to keep him from talking to federal investigators.

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