2 DeKalb court officials sentenced in extortion scheme
FORMER DEKALB COUNTY PRETRIAL SERVICES COORDINATOR & DEKALB
PROBATION OFFICER SENTENCED IN CHARGE-FIXING EXTORTION SCHEME
ATLANTA, GA – KEITH L. HUGHES, 39, of Covington, Georgia, the former Coordinator of the DeKalb County Office of Pretrial Services, and NATALIE NICOLE DUNN, 33, of Ellenwood, Georgia, a former DeKalb County State Court Probation Officer, were sentenced today by United States District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr., with each defendant convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right in a criminal charge-fixing scheme.
FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Greg Jones said, “Using one’s position for personal gain negates any sense of fairness and justice. The FBI understands this and it is for this reason that we aggressively pursue such conduct that jeopardizes the underlying fabric of the criminal justice system.”
HUGHES was sentenced to 2 years, 11 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. HUGHES was ordered to pay a fine of $2,500 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
DUNN was sentenced to 2 years, 2 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. DUNN was also ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.
According to Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, the criminal information, and other information presented in court: In November 2008, an individual, who later became a source of information (referred to as the “source,”) contacted the FBI regarding communications with DUNN. The source told the FBI that after his arrest for drug offenses in DeKalb County, Georgia, DUNN contacted him and offered to ensure that the source received a dismissal of his pending criminal charges in exchange for a $25,000 payment to DUNN and HUGHES. In December 2008, at the direction of the FBI, the source paid DUNN two $5,000 installments to ensure a dismissal of the source’s criminal charges.
In December 2008, the source also met with HUGHES and DUNN inside HUGHES’ office located at the DeKalb County Courthouse. During that meeting, HUGHES told the source that he and DUNN would falsely report to the Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney that the source was cooperating in the investigation of others. By doing so, HUGHES said that he could ensure that the source’s pending drug trafficking charge was dismissed.
HUGHES pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right on July 1, 2009. DUNN pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right on June 10, 2009.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Richard S. Moultrie, Jr. and Jeff A. Brown prosecuted the case.