On November 2, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the conviction of Sharon Barnes Sutton, former commissioner of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. A federal Jury convicted Barnes Sutton for two counts of extortion in connection with a $1.8 million contract.

Theft by extortion occurs when someone obtains money or property from another person using threatening or intimidating behavior. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Barnes Sutton demanded monthly payments of $500 from a DeKalb County subcontractor, later increasing her demand to $1,000 per month. Barnes Sutton accepted two payments before the FBI “disrupted her continued demands” in August 2014. The DOJ noted that separately, Barnes Sutton also accepted a $5,000 cash bribe from an FBI confidential source who had business before the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.

Illegally obtaining property or money by using threats or intimidation is a crime that can be prosecuted by both federal and local agencies and can carry harsh penalties, including long prison sentences. Barnes Sutton is scheduled for sentencing on January 6, 2023, facing a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with federal criminal investigations.  If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.