AJC Investigates


Broken system forgives sexually abusive doctors
AJC Watchdog

Broken system forgives sexually abusive doctors

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reveals sexual abuse by doctors in 50 states,  a system that forgives them, and victims who brought some to justice.

Hapeville official leaves trail of fraud allegations, ruined lives

Hapeville official leaves trail of fraud allegations, ruined lives

A Hapeville city councilwoman facing trial for stealing more than $100,000 has a history of preying on her tax clients and is now under investigation by the state for preparing thousands of suspicious tax returns, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation has found.
AJC Investigates: This is what a tax raid looks like

Photos: AJC Investigates: This is what a tax raid looks like

Hapeville City Councilwoman Ruth Barr faces criminal prosecution for fraud and has a history of consumer complaints in her tax preparation business. Photos show the state of Georgia raiding Barr's company, B&B Accounting & Tax Services, on Friday May 6, 2016, based on a search warrant.
Atlanta couple duped by tax preparer

Atlanta couple duped by tax preparer

For years, Margaret Turner and her husband, William, trusted Hapeville City councilwoman Ruth Barr to do their personal taxes after a neighbor recommended her and touted Barr’s ability to get refunds.
Taxpayer Beware: How to choose a tax preparer

Taxpayer Beware: How to choose a tax preparer

Lack of professional standards and oversight of tax preparers has led to an industry rife with fraud or mistakes, and consumers must be careful when choosing someone to prepare their tax returns, according to experts and government officials.
Investigation finds DeKalb didn’t report 35 sewage spills

Investigation finds DeKalb didn’t report 35 sewage spills

DeKalb County officials underreported the number of times sewage overflowed into creeks and rivers, possibly violating a judge’s order, according to an investigation’s findings released Tuesday.
DeKalb lowballed sewage spills

DeKalb lowballed sewage spills

DeKalb County’s government failed to report 35 sewage spills that polluted waterways over the last four years, according to the results of the county’s investigation released Tuesday.
Hapeville official leaves trail of fraud allegations, ruined lives

Hapeville official leaves trail of fraud allegations, ruined lives

A Hapeville city councilwoman facing trial for stealing more than $100,000 has a history of preying on her tax clients and is now under investigation by the state for preparing thousands of suspicious tax returns, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation has found.
State lawmaker seeks dramatic cuts in welfare, food stamps

State lawmaker seeks dramatic cuts in welfare, food stamps

This week I wrote about how Georgia won’t be requiring photos on food stamp cards. But that’s just a proxy for the real battle underway to dramatically scale back the food stamp program in Georgia.
What did former Rep. Paul Broun know? Corruption probe inches closer

What did former Rep. Paul Broun know? Corruption probe inches closer

In 2014, then-U.S. Rep. Paul Broun repeatedly told congressional ethics investigators that a political consultant paid with tax money was a “volunteer” for his election campaigns, but a federal corruption indictment unsealed last month called that a “cover story.
Judge to shut down investment scheme

Judge to shut down investment scheme

A Woodstock millionaire’s empire of investment companies will be shut down and dismantled, a federal judge has ruled, breaking up what authorities allege was a Ponzi scheme that roped in investors from across the country.
White extremists rally at Stone Mountain as heritage gives way to hate

White extremists rally at Stone Mountain as heritage gives way to hate

A year ago, the Confederate flag was not a front-of-mind issue for most Georgians. Some considered it a dead issue in the state, a battle fought and won in 2001 when the battle emblem was removed from the state flag in a racially charged political season.
Insurance chief ignored warnings on firm accused of Ponzi scheme

Insurance chief ignored warnings on firm accused of Ponzi scheme

Five years before the federal government accused a Woodstock millionaire of running a multistate, multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, Georgia regulators had evidence he was operating without a license, in violation of state law.
FAQs on Georgia property assessments

FAQs on Georgia property assessments

How did the county come up with the assessed value? By law, the assessed value is 40% of property fair market value, which is defined as the amount a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for it in an arm’s length, bona fide sale.
Lobbyists fatten Ga. officials with steak, wine and a $24 hat

Lobbyists fatten Ga. officials with steak, wine and a $24 hat

The Era of Ethics Reform is over – at least at the Georgia General Assembly.For the first time in five years, state lawmakers and their longtime lobbyist companions ate enough, drank enough and traveled enough to increase total spending on reported gifts.
Can prosecutors be fair in police shooting cases?

Can prosecutors be fair in police shooting cases?

Caroline Small has been dead nearly six years, but her tragic killing at the hands of Glynn County police loomed over the Capitol last week in a contentious debate that went to the heart of how such cases are handled.
Set aside ‘individual agendas’ in rape evidence fight, Ga. Speaker says

Set aside ‘individual agendas’ in rape evidence fight, Ga. Speaker says

State Sen. Rene Unterman doubled down Wednesday on her opposition to a bill that would require untested DNA evidence in sexual assault cases to be sent to state forensic labs, even as Georgia House Speaker David Ralston ratcheted up pressure by weighing in to support the stalled bill.
Police grand jury bill passes Senate hurdle

Police grand jury bill passes Senate hurdle

A proposal to curtail Georgia police officers’ ability to influence grand jurors in police shooting cases passed a critical state Senate committee vote on Tuesday.
Special prosecutor for police shootings faces DA opposition

Special prosecutor for police shootings faces DA opposition

A proposal to require a special prosecutor appointment in fatal police shooting cases ran into stiff resistance Monday from Georgia’s district attorneys and top law enforcement officials who turned out in force before a Senate committee to voice opposition.
Special prosecutor urged for police shooting cases

Special prosecutor urged for police shooting cases

A proposal to change who prosecutes fatal police shooting cases in Georgia is headed to a state Senate committee Monday where police and prosecutors are expected to strongly oppose the plan.
VA official apologizes for healthcare backlog

VA official apologizes for healthcare backlog

In 2014, senior VA officials who managed the enrollment of veterans for healthcare benefits misled the public about a backlog of veterans who were unable to get their healthcare applications approved.
Bill that would count neglected rape evidence in trouble in Ga. Senate

Bill that would count neglected rape evidence in trouble in Ga. Senate

A bill that would require police to find and count neglected sexual assault evidence that has the overwhelming support of state law enforcement is in danger because a key state senator has declined to schedule a hearing on the proposal.
Bill that would count neglected rape evidence in trouble in Ga. Senate

Bill that would count neglected rape evidence in trouble in Ga. Senate

A bill that would require police to find and count neglected sexual assault evidence that has the overwhelming support of state law enforcement is in danger because a key state senator has declined to schedule a hearing on the proposal.
How theft ring stole millions of drugs from Emory

How theft ring stole millions of drugs from Emory

The criminal drug scheme that ran from Emory University Hospital Midtown’s pharmacy was the biggest that state investigators had ever seen at a hospital.
Police officer who shot Caroline Small has died

Police officer who shot Caroline Small has died

One of the two police officers at the center of a controversial 2010 shooting death of a South Georgia mother has died after a bout with brain cancer, according to local media reports.
Family secrets emerge after fatal fire

Family secrets emerge after fatal fire

One cold day last month, television news cameras captured the very public grief of a Gwinnett County man who lost his wife and daughters in an intense house fire.
Winslow settles fourth ethics infraction with $3K fine

Winslow settles fourth ethics infraction with $3K fine

Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow, who funneled taxpayer dollars into her last three re-election campaigns, has paid a $3,000 fine to settle the latest ethics case against her.
Georgia traffic courts taking a bite out of tax refunds

Georgia traffic courts taking a bite out of tax refunds

Georgia courts have a new tool for collecting cash: taking a bite out of your tax refund. A state law enacted in 2014 allows courts to intercept the state income tax refunds of people who haven’t paid traffic tickets or other court fines.
My afternoon with Justice Scalia

My afternoon with Justice Scalia

News of Antonin Scalia’s sudden death transported me back to a memorable afternoon I spent with him in the quiet solitude of his chambers at the Supreme Court.
Georgia police agencies lose millions in Congress budget move

Georgia police agencies lose millions in Congress budget move

Georgia law enforcement agencies and others across the country may drop out of anti-drug and terrorism task forces and are scaling back spending after Congress raided a stash of federal funds that has given this state more than $200 million in recent years.
Grand juror: Reopen Caroline Small police shooting

Grand juror: Reopen Caroline Small police shooting

A Glynn County grand juror has formally asked for the Caroline Small police shooting case to be re-opened, calling the way it was handled by Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson in 2011 a stain on the “reputation and credibility” of her office.
Law would curb police grand jury privileges in Ga.

Law would curb police grand jury privileges in Ga.

Georgia police officers who face possible criminal charges in shooting cases would lose some of their unique legal privileges under a proposal to be debated at the State Capitol on Friday.
‘Gaps’ led to children’s deaths, DFCS admits

‘Gaps’ led to children’s deaths, DFCS admits

For the first time, Georgia’s child-protection agency is acknowledging that “significant gaps” in its performance have contributed to the deaths of children under its supervision.
City ousts police chief accused of cover-up in teen shooting

City ousts police chief accused of cover-up in teen shooting

Union City forced out its embattled police chief, but city officials tried to keep his involuntary departure hush-hush last month amid allegations he helped cover up a 2011 fatal shooting by one of his officers.
Lawmaker withdraws bills after fallout from Klan comments

Lawmaker withdraws bills after fallout from Klan comments

State Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, Monday pulled his name from three pieces of controversial legislation after his comments about slavery, the Ku Klux Klan and the Civil War drew national attention.
State lawmaker’s Klan comments rebuked by colleagues, critics

State lawmaker’s Klan comments rebuked by colleagues, critics

Some of state Rep. Tommy Benton’s Republican colleagues Friday sought to distance themselves from his controversial comments about the Ku Klux Klan and slavery, while Democratic activists called on House Speaker David Ralston to strip him of his chairmanship.
How drug warnings slipped by in the 'Dr. Death' case

How drug warnings slipped by in the 'Dr. Death' case

Long before he was dubbed “Dr. Death,” Jonesboro psychiatrist Narendra Nagareddy was known across metro Atlanta’s southside as the go-to physician for prescription drug addicts.
Top Ga. lawmaker criticized for Klan comments

Top Ga. lawmaker criticized for Klan comments

A state lawmaker’s take on Civil War history and rise of the Ku Klux Klan has been met with condemnation from Democrats and calls for House Speaker David Ralston to discipline him.
Rural hospital’s bet on car dealer goes bust

Rural hospital’s bet on car dealer goes bust

A struggling hospital in this rural Georgia town embarked on a bold experiment a few years back, tapping the local Ford dealer to run its 54-bed facility.
New Ga. House leader Jon Burns fails to disclose payments

New Ga. House leader Jon Burns fails to disclose payments

Recently installed State House Majority Leader Jon Burns, R-Newington, failed to disclose at least $120,000 in payments to his private business as required by Georgia law, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Georgia News Lab has found.
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