Sammie Sias first hearing to be held early August

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta District 4 Commissioner Sammie Sias will be arraigned in Federal Court Wednesday, August 4th, at 2 p.m.

This will be Sias’ first appearance before Federal Court and the first reading of his charges.

The 66-year-old commissioner has been accused of destroying evidence in a federal investigation and lying to investigators.

Sias is facing a potential 20 years in federal prison, substantial financial penalties and up to five years of supervised released at the end of the prison term.

David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia said, “Federal investigations play a significant oversight role in maintaining integrity and transparency from elected officials and in government agencies at all levels. “We commend our law enforcement partners in the FBI and GBI for their diligence in seeking timely and accurate information from those who are chosen to serve the taxpayers of our communities.”

According to a press release from Interim Law Enforcement Coordinator Barry Paschal,

As outlined in Count One of USA v. Sias, the indictment alleges that on or about Aug. 5, 2019, Sias “did knowingly alter, destroy, mutilate, conceal, and coverup records, documents and other objects, to wit, digital files belonging to Sandridge Community Association (SCA), which included invoices, spreadsheets, work orders, payments, agendas, minutes, financial reports and other documentation of Jamestown Community Center (Jamestown), Jamestown Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), SCA Board of Directors, SCA Summer Camp, with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the investigation and proper administration of a federal criminal grand jury investigation.”

Subsequently, Count Two alleges that on or about Aug. 9, 2019, Sias “did willfully and knowingly make a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, an agency of the United States,” when Sias told an FBI special agent that he had provided all electronic and paper files in his possession related to the investigation.

Arraignment on the charges has not yet been scheduled.

Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta said, “The alleged cover up was not only a violation of the oath taken by this elected official, but a theft of the public’s trust. Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top priorities and we will do everything in our power to pursue officials who abuse their positions.”

“Elected officials must uphold the public’s trust. The GBI is committed to working with federal partners to hold accountable those who would violate that trust,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the GBI. The case will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney and Deputy Criminal Chief Patricia G. Rhodes and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara M. Lyons.

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