Ex-Rep. Roger Byrd: 20 years’ probation + $210K restitution
Former state Rep. Roger Byrd pleaded guilty Aug. 18 to two counts of theft by taking and was ordered to pay $210,000 in restitution. Prosecutors dismissed a charge of conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision in a plea deal that gave Byrd 20 years on probation, but no prison time if he repays the money within 30 months. (If not, he would go to prison for 4 1/2 to 5 years.) Amanda F. Williams, chief judge of Jeff Davis County Superior Court, sentenced Byrd under the Georgia First Offender Act, meaning he would not be considered a convicted felon if he completes the sentence successfully.
An adjunct professor of political science at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Byrd served in the Georgia House from 1981 through 2002, then as chief of staff for former House Speaker Terry Coleman.
Byrd, who was on retainer with the Jeff Davis Development Authority, accepted a $100,000 fee for putting together a deal to bring Armitec Inc., a uniform manufacturer, to Hazlehurst, prosecutors said. But he later took another $110,000 under the table from Armitec owner Bruce Davis, part of the proceeds of an authority bond issue meant to finance Armitec’s relocation. Armitec closed its doors there after less than a year, leaving the authority more than $2 million in debt. (Co-defendants Davis and Perry Sanders also pleaded guilty and agreed to pay combined restitution of nearly $1.2 million.)