AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Feds let ex-DeKalb Commissioner Elaine Boyer out of prison early


Elaine Boyer is a free woman again, having served her time for swindling DeKalb County taxpayers out of more than $100,000 while she was a county commissioner.

Boyer, 59, left an Atlanta transitional center on Friday, a year after she checked into a federal prison camp in Marianna, Fla. She was allowed early release after serving the required 85 percent of her 14-month sentence for mail fraud conspiracy and wire fraud charges.

Boyer was a stalwart of Northside politics until The Atlanta Journal-Constitution began drilling into her district office expenses in early 2014. The AJC found that, for years, Boyer used her county purchasing card to pay personal expenses, such as family airline tickets, rental cars, personal cellphone expenses and a ski resort booking.

She and her husband, chiropractor John Boyer, had been going through dire financial problems, having lost their Stone Mountain strip mall to foreclosure and eventually losing their Smoke Rise home as well. In all, the AJC found, she ran up about $16,800 in personal expenses on the card, which she and her husband have since paid back.

The FBI began investigating and discovered a kickback scheme involving county checks and an evangelist named Rooks Boynton. The AJC's continuing investigation identified the ruse as well, discovering Boyer had used phony invoices to funnel tens of thousands of dollars in county funds to Boynton, who posed as her legislative affairs consultant.

He deposited about $60,000 into the commissioner's personal bank account and kept the rest for himself, according to court documents.

"I've made a huge, tremendous error in judgment, " Boyer told Channel 2 Action News in August 2014, as she resigned from office in disgrace. "Any lies and intentional deception ... I  deeply regret it."

Boynton, indicted on federal program theft and federal program theft conspiracy charges, has yet to go to trial.

John Boyer, who pleaded guilty to masterminding the scheme, is scheduled to be let out of Atlanta's federal penitentiary on Nov. 17.

Boyer is paying more than $87,000 in restitution for the kickback scheme. Court documents show the federal government has garnished a portion of her DeKalb County pension payments.

 


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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.