AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Another holdup in the Boyer case

Elaine Boyer's sentencing for swindling more than $90,000 from DeKalb County taxpayers has been put off again. The onetime DeKalb County commissioner had been scheduled to learn her punishment on Feb. 4, but her defense attorney, Jeff Brickman, told Channel 2 Action News it's being delayed a second time.

He didn't give a reason. Previously, she had been scheduled to face U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans in December, and the public didn't get a reason that time, either, from Brickman nor from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The delay could have something to do with the "substantial assistance" she can give federal prosecutors in exchange for their recommendation of a lighter sentence, a condition of her plea agreement. In other words, she might be singing, but the feds want to verify it's a factual ballad.

For her resignation, cooperation and contrition, the U.S. Attorney's Office has already agreed to recommend she be sentenced to "the low end of the adjusted guideline range" on mail fraud conspiracy and wire fraud charges. That would be 18 to 24 months, not the 40 year maximum sentence the combined charges carry.

Once a stalwart in the Northside conservative political establishment, Boyer has admitted funneling more than $78,000 to an evangelist posing as a legislative consultant, with him kicking about $58,000 of it back to her. She also admitted running up more than $15,000 in personal purchases on her county Visa card, a scheme first uncovered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

After the first sentencing delay, the U.S. Attorney's Office was still trying to pry documents out of the DeKalb County government, following a sweeping subpoena for records on 62 vendors paid by commissioners other than Boyer.

"The investigation is ongoing," Brickman told the AJC in December. "I can’t address the reasons it has or hasn’t been continued.”

Here's something else we still don't know: What prosecutors intend to do with her evangelist cohort, 72-year-old Rooks Boynton. The AJC's investigation found phony invoices from "The Boynton Report," complete with an old-timey picture of the Capitol dome and the slogan "Timely Reports from our State's Capitol."

So far, he's faced no consequences. And he hasn't even had to testify since Boyer promptly fessed up.

"We have not made a decision about him, " former U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said at a news conference.

That was back in August. Check in with the AJC for the latest developments in Boyer's case.

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About the Author

Johnny Edwards is a member of the AJC’s investigative team, focusing on the private sector and state and federal regulation. He has worked at the newspaper since 2010.