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Ex-cop sentenced to federal prison for taking bribes

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

ATLANTA — A Stockbridge man who used to work as an Atlanta police officer was sentenced Tuesday to two years in a federal prison for taking bribes.

Elton Augustin, 32, was convicted of lying to federal agents after a jury trial Dec. 7. Augustin pleaded guilty Feb. 14 to conspiring to accept bribes, said federal prosecutors.

The former Atlanta police officer was sentenced to two years in prison for conspiring to accept bribes and lying to FBI agents. Augustin will serve two years on supervised release and perform 100 hours of community service.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Augustin's actions betrayed the community.

“Police officers are sworn to uphold the law and protect the community they serve, but this defendant protected an illegal business in exchange for cash and then lied to federal investigators,” said Yates. “His actions betrayed the community and the honest law enforcement officers who serve honorably every day.”

The sentencing brings an end to Augustin's career in law enforcement, said Mark F. Giuliano, special agent in charge at FBI Atlanta Field Office.

“While today’s sentencing ends one police officer’s career, it is important to note that the vast majority of dedicated law enforcement officers that serve our community understand their oaths to the badge and honor their commitment to their positions of trust,” Giuliano said.

Yates said that from June 2007 through August 2007, while employed as a police officer with the Atlanta Police Department, Augustin worked at an illegal nightclub in Atlanta. Augustin, along with two other APD officers, received more than $10,000 in cash to provide security and prevent police officers from investigating illegal activity at the nightclub, which included gambling, prostitution, drug sales and permit violations.

Augustin and the other officers were posted outside of the nightclub’s parking lot to intercept on-duty police officers responding to emergency calls, she said.

"The officers’ presence at the nightclub prevented on-duty officers from discovering the illegal activity and allowed the club to operate undetected for several months," said Yates.

APD officers shut down the illegal nightclub Sept. 15, 2007, and arrested the club’s owners. Federal agents learned about the officers’ employment at the illegal nightclub in 2010. When confronted, Augustin lied to federal agents, said Yates.

The other two APD officers, Lucius T. Solomon and Eric Jones, were also convicted of bribery charges. Solomon pleaded guilty to bribery and drug trafficking charges Sept. 2, 2010, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison Dec. 17, 2010. 

Jones pleaded guilty to conspiring with Augustin to accept bribes April 5 and is awaiting sentencing. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Atlanta Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Brown prosecuted the case.