Former DeKalb commissioner now facing federal charges

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —

DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer went before a judge Tuesday and was granted a $25,000 bond after saying she will plead guilty to federal charges of misusing taxpayer money.
 
Members of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office told Channel 2’s Erica Byfield they have an ongoing investigation into DeKalb County and Boyer maybe the first of several to face charges.
 
The longtime Republican politician is facing prison time for allegedly stealing tens of thousands dollars from taxpayers.
 
“It is troubling when you see someone who was sworn to serve the people of DeKalb County and was instead using the funds of the county like her own personal piggy bank,” said Sally Yates, U.S. attorney northern district of Georgia.
 
Prosecutors said Boyer committed two crimes: she's accused of wire fraud and mail fraud.
 
The wire count stems from the use of a county-funded debit card to pay for items like personal flights. In all, they said she spent $15,000 with the card.
 
The other count suggests she billed an advisor for services they never reintendered and funneled close to $60,000 in her personal bank account.
 
For his services, the unnamed advisor ended up with about $20,000. Yates isn't saying what will happen to that person.
 
“We have not made a decision about him,” Yates said.
 
Boyer's attorney said she cooperating, will plead guilty and is very sorry.
 
“She acknowledges she’s abused the trust of DeKalb County,” said attorney Jeff Brickman.” Mrs. Boyer is well aware there is a possibility she could go to prison.”
 
 “She is cooperating after she was caught. She stole $90,000 but for the fact that we and the FBI were on to it, I’m sure she would be apologizing,” Yates said.
 
In an exclusive and emotional interview, Boyer sat down with Channel 2’s Jodie Fleischer to talk about the charges she's now facing.


 

DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer resigned from office Monday, after facing several months of spending scrutiny. She did not give a reason for the timing of her decision other than to say she’d been considering it for some time.

"It's a very hard decision and I'm heartbroken and saddened, but I need to resign," said Boyer, "I've betrayed the people and I've abused my position of power, and so I feel like I need to do this.”

In March, Boyer apologized for using her purchasing card for personal expenses. Boyer suspended use of purchasing cards in April.

Earlier this year, a Channel 2 Action News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation raised questions about more than $16,000 in personal purchases Boyer made with her county debit card.

The charges included things like airfare and other travel-related expenses for herself and her family.

"I apologize not only to my constituents, to my friends my family, and the people of DeKalb," said Boyer who sat down for an exclusive interview with Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer.

Boyer had already paid back about half of those charges before the investigation and has since paid back the rest of the money.

"I feel like I've been a distraction. I feel like this has been a really difficult time for DeKalb County and I feel like if I put myself out of the position, then [the county] can move on and start the healing for DeKalb," said Boyer.

DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May released this statement: “Recent news stories notwithstanding, Elaine Boyer has faithfully served the constituents of District 1 and DeKalb County for over 20 years.  It is my sincere hope that her resignation will allow the healing process to begin and open the door for a new voice on the Board of Commissioners.  I wish her the best.”

Boyer told Fleischer she hopes this spending investigation will not be what defines her 22 years in office.

“I've done a lot of good things, but when you realize that you're a distraction and you're part of the problem, I've abused my position, I'm sorry about it and I need to let someone else take over,” said  Boyer.

She said she hopes the person who fills her seat can turn this into a positive.

Boyer said, “DeKalb's got great people, it's got great employees, and there's a lot of things that can happen and I think leadership change can bring about growth for DeKalb.”

Commissioner Jeff Rader agreed, “It’s a sad chapter in a long career of elected representation.  I think that she did the right thing, I think it will give DeKalb County and District 1 new representation that will be effective for them,” he said.

Channel 2 reporter Erica Byfield contacted all of Boyer’s fellow commissioners for comment.  

“I just heard about it; she served DeKalb County for many years and I wish her the best in her future endeavors,” said Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton.

In May, Channel 2 Action News first reported the FBI was also looking at some of the same records we uncovered, indicating that DeKalb commissioner is under federal investigation.

Boyer would not comment on that or any of the specifics of her spending.