Two Georgia Officials Slammed with Federal Money Laundering Charges

( – Two officials of Georgia’s Newton County Board of Commissioners, including its chairman, face indictment in a money laundering scheme that they orchestrated under the cover of a corrupt real estate business deal.

Apart from the chairman of the board, Marcello Banes, the federal jury has also indicted newly elected Stephanie Lindsey, who is also a local real estate agent.

Federal Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Ryan Buchanan, announced the charges against the two commissioners. He accused Banes of abusing his power for monetary gains by receiving a kickback of $100,000 from Lindsey, who received $150,000 from a property sale.

Buchanan also argued that public officials who indulge in unethical practices contribute to reducing public trust in government institutions, so they should be brought to justice.

Banes allegedly attempted to abuse his power as the board member of the Joint Development Authority (JDA), which was responsible for overseeing the creation of an industrial area that would have attracted business to the region.

He sold a 40-acre property to “Company A,” originally belonging to the JDA, and referred them to Lindsey, who received $150,000 from the sale. He did not disclose the referral money to the JDA, as doing so could have jeopardized his deal.

Meanwhile, both Banes and Lindsey cried foul play after landing themselves in legal trouble. According to Banes, he was not involved in any wrongdoing and vowed to emerge victorious from the case. He further noted that he is moved by the support he received from his family, friends, and the citizens of Newton County, who are standing behind him in the tough times. Lindsey also claimed that, as a public servant, she would never engage in any unlawful practice.

Banes was elected to the board back in 2016 and became the first-ever black person to serve as its chairman. On the other hand, Lindsey defeated the incumbent commissioner, Alana Sanders, in the June 18th elections.

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