A former Fulton County detention officer has pleaded guilty to accepting $7,000 in kickbacks from a county bail bonding agent in return for referring defendants to her bonding company, District Attorney Paul Howard announced Wednesday.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Adams on Tuesday sentenced Robert James, 41, to five years probation and fined him $5,000 after James pleaded guilty to taking bribes from Gloria Garcia, an employee of AA OK Bail Bonds from 2014 to 2015, Howard said.
James, a former detention officer at the county jail in Alpharetta, also pleaded guilty to violating his oath of office and violating prohibitions barring law enforcement officers from engaging in a bail bond business or recommending bonding companies to defendants, Howard said.
James, who resigned in September 2015, was also required to surrender his Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Certification. Howard said James has also agreed to testify against Garcia. Garcia was charged with felony bribery and three misdemeanors—loitering, soliciting business around a jail or court and using a law enforcement officer to engage in the bail bond business, according to the court docket.
According to Howard, the bribery scheme was discovered after several detainees at the Fulton County jail in Alpharetta notified authorities that James encouraged them to use AA OK Bail Bonds in Roswell.
The sheriff’s office was made aware of the allegations and started an investigation in 2015, said Tracy Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson. The findings were turned over to the district attorney.
An employee who answered the phone at AA OK bail Bonds in Roswell said Garcia does not work there anymore. Messages left with staff seeking a comment from the company’s owner were not immediately returned.