Georgia National Guard investigates fraud on construction projects

by: Richard Belcher Updated:

A source told Belcher one of the suspect construction projects had to do with improvements at the National Guard Armory in Decatur.

MARIETTA, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned the Georgia National Guard has started a fraud investigation, probing construction projects tax payers paid for.

The Georgia National Guard fears the construction project fraud was going on for years.

The Guard tells Channel 2's Richard Belcher it uncovered the suspicious activities by a single Guard employee and asked for an outside investigation.

Belcher confirmed that Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents were asking questions at Guard headquarters in Marietta last week.

A source told Belcher one of the suspect construction projects had to do with improvements at the National Guard Armory in Decatur.

The source said another of the projects is at Fort Stewart near Savannah. It is unclear which one of the structures at Fort Stewart is the subject of the state investigation.

"Several months ago the Georgia National Guard did its own internal investigation and found that there were possible illegal contracting practices happening via one employee in particular, that possibly has been going on for many years," Marytherese Tebbe from the National Guard Public Affairs Office said.

The GBI said the state inspector general was the first outside agency to investigate the allegations.

"They had enough to go to the attorney general's office, and both felt there was probable cause to ask for a GBI investigation into allegations surrounding fraud connected to some projects at the National Guard," John Bankhead with the GBI said.

The source said two other projects under investigation are at the old naval air station in Marietta which is now headquarters for the Georgia Guard.

The GBI said it doesn't expect a quick resolution.

"And given the fact that you're dealing with a paper trail, then those usually take quite a while to complete," Bankhead said.

Bankhead did not provide any specifics about the suspected misconduct with the National Guard contracts.

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