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Chatham Area transit contractor convicted of fraud, bribery

POSTED: March 13, 2018 5:41 a.m.

Anthony Florence, a contractor for the Chatham Area Transit Authority (CAT), was convicted Feb. 28 by a federal jury on 22 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud and one count of bribery of a program receiving federal funds. U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore presided over Florence’s three-day jury trial.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Florence paid bribes and kickbacks to Chadwick L. Reese, formerly the executive director of CAT, and Joel T. Morris, formerly the director of maintenance of CAT.

Florence paid for more than $100,000 worth of work on the personal residences of Reese and Morris. In exchange, Reese awarded contracts to a company operated by Florence over a period of nearly two years.

Even though Florence and his company provided little to no work, Reese and Morris approved more than $200,000 in payments by Chatham Area Transit to Florence’s company.

Reese and Morris previously pled guilty and were sentenced to 84 months and 20 months, respectively.

“The lesson for contractors doing business in South Georgia is simple: paying a public official to obtain ‘no show’ work is a good way to end up in federal prison,” U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine said. “This office will aggressively root out corruption at every level of government.”

“Just because public officials are willing to violate the trust of the people they serve, doesn’t mean contractors can take advantage of their lack of integrity,” said David J. LeValley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI will continue to make public corruption cases, and all of those involved, a priority. We ask anyone with information regarding such matters to contact their nearest FBI field office or resident agency.”

Christine commended the hard work and dedication of the FBI, which investigated the case. Special Agent Joshua Hayes led the FBI’s investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Brian Tanner and J. Thomas Clarkson prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

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