Ranking GBI agent resigns amid purchasing-card investigation


A top-ranking agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation resigned Thursday just hours after her fellow agents searched her home and began looking into her use of a state credit card.

“The GBI routinely conducts investigations of misuse of purchasing cards. In this case it was one of its own employees,” said GBI director Vernon Keenan. “(I was) totally mortified that this occurred.”

No charges have been filed against former GBI inspector Sandra Putnam, a 21-year veteran with the agency, Keenan said. The investigation is continuing and the findings will be given to state Attorney General Sam Olens, who will decide the next step, Keenan said.

“I just want to give a humble, heartfelt and sincere apology to you, the command staff and to the men and women of GBI,” Putnam said in her resignation letter.

GBI spokesman Scott Dutton said Putnam allegedly spent at least $26,000 over three years to buy items on like tires, a television, a leather couch and lawn furniture, some of the items found during the search.

“She had orchestrated a scheme to generate false invoices to cover the fraud associated with the purchases,” Keenan said.

Keenan was alerted Wednesday to the alleged fraud by the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services and the state’s inspector general, who questioned purchases on the credit cards assigned to Putnam and four other GBI employees, who did not know their cards had been used.

“They went over those records with me and I was convinced that there was criminal activity,” Keenan told Channel 2 Action News.

Agents from middle and south Georgia, who were not under Putnam’s command, were assigned to investigate her and to search her Covington home Wednesday.

Putnam was considered part of the GBI’s command staff but did not report directly to the director. She was over the GBI’s intelligence unit and the teams that investigated child exploitation and computer crimes.


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