Ex-DeKalb deputy chief admits bribes, awaits sentencing
By JIM WALLS
A former deputy DeKalb County police chief today admitted taking a businessman’s bribes and may be headed to prison.
Ex-Lt. Donald E. Frank pleaded guilty to accepting payments from businessman Amin Budhwani to threaten and harass the businessman’s mistress, employees and business partner.
Frank faces up to five years in federal prison. Sentencing has not been scheduled, which often means that prosecutors are waiting to see whether a defendant can supply useful information — and, if necessary, testify — about criminal activity by others.
In a news release late today, the U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates’ office said:
From September 2008 through September 2009, FRANK conspired with DeKalb Police Lieutenant WILLIE DAREN DURRETT to accept money from an area businessman, AMIN BUDHWANI, 46, of Atlanta, for undertaking actions on BUDHWANI’s behalf. BUDHWANI initially approached DURRETT to help him end a relationship with his mistress. DURRETT then introduced FRANK to BUDHWANI as someone who could help with the matter. FRANK made a series of threatening phone calls and intimidated the woman into ending the relationship with BUDHWANI. FRANK continued to do favors for BUDHWANI while acting in his official capacity and demanded payments from him.
BUDHWANI paid FRANK $10,000 to threaten and intimidate one of BUDHWANI’s business partners. As FRANK was a supervisor with DeKalb County, he had the ability to ask, and did ask other DeKalb officers to conduct a traffic stop of BUDHWANI’s business partner, follow him, and make phone calls regarding the business partner to make him feel he was being investigated so that he would feel the need to leave the country. BUDHWANI paid FRANK to use his badge and uniform to question two of BUDHWANI’s employees regarding money they allegedly took from the business. BUDHWANI also paid for trips to casinos, restaurants, clubs and sporting events to influence FRANK, and accompanied FRANK on those trips.
Budhwani pleaded guilty to related charges last June and is awaiting sentencing.
Frank was fired in May 2010. He has served as one of the deputies to Police Chief Terrell Bolton (since fired himself) and was implicated in helping to hide two seized luxury vehicles that the chief had commandeered for his own use. Before that, Frank worked as part of former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones’ $250,000-a-year security detail.