Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Atlanta city vendor indicted in Atlanta City Hall bribery investigation


Federal prosecutors announced a 51 count indictment Wednesday against a former City of Atlanta contractor, the latest indictment in the ongoing federal investigation into alleged City Hall bribery.

The indictment accuses 68-year-old Jeff Jafari with Wednesday’s indictment of a City of Atlanta with conspiratorial bribery, bribery, tampering with a witness, tax evasion, and money laundering.

FOX 5 Senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell, who has covered the federal investigation for years, reports federal prosecutors believe the Alpharetta man bribed a then-city official.

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“Jeff Jafari allegedly paid multiple bribes to two local officials over a period of years and then attempted to obstruct the federal investigation into his misconduct,” said U.S. Attorney Bjay Pak. “He also failed to pay income taxes on millions of dollars he earned from city contracts. Instead, he used the funds to live a lavish lifestyle. Whether you bribe, take a bribe, or otherwise misuse the public’s money to enrich yourself – it’s all corruption. We will vigorously pursue any such cases.”

“FBI Atlanta’s public corruption squad remains very active and determined to expose the criminal conduct of public officials,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta FBI field office. “The investigation of Jafari and resulting indictment on numerous charges is a further example of our commitment to hold those serving the public in positions of trust, accountable.”

“This indictment takes you from the bribes to the benefits and everything in between,” said Thomas Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “It shows how money gains access, influences decisions, supports a lavish lifestyle and corrupts. IRS-CI performed its key role in this case by following the money as Jafari acted to corrupt, impede, evade, launder and conceal his criminal actions while obtaining millions in city contracts.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: Beginning at least in 2014 to January 2017, Jafari allegedly paid thousands of dollars in bribe payments to Adam Smith, the then-Chief Procurement Officer of the City of Atlanta. At the time, Jafari was the Executive Vice-President of PRAD Group and did millions of dollars in work with the City of Atlanta, primarily under the City’s Architectural and Engineering contracts. Jafari has since retired from the company.

Jafari and Smith met at Atlanta-area restaurants where they discussed City business, among other things, and Jafari would generally pay Smith $1,000 in cash in the restaurant bathroom. Jafari similarly paid bribes to a local official in DeKalb County in April and August of 2014.

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In exchange for Jafari’s payments to Smith, Smith met with Jafari regularly and provided Jafari with information and counsel regarding the City of Atlanta’s procurement processes, among other information. When PRAD Group or a joint venture in which PRAD Group was a partner became a successful proponent on a City of Atlanta contract or Request for Proposal, Smith approved and submitted the award of those projects. Smith also approved task and/or purchase orders for those projects.

In February 2017, Jafari became aware of the federal investigation into his payments to Smith, at which time he confronted Smith in an effort to intimidate and persuade Smith to provide false information to federal law enforcement about the payments, instructing Smith to deny taking bribe money from Jafari.

Between 2014 through 2016, Jafari also willfully failed to pay income taxes to the IRS. During those years, Jafari withdrew large amounts of cash from corporate bank accounts and used corporate funds for personal expenses, among other things, to avoid the assessment of income tax.

In 2014, Jafari owed at least $150,000; in 2015, at least $300,000; and in 2017, at least $700,000 to the IRS. Jafari is additionally charged with numerous counts of money laundering for engaging in financial transactions with funds earned from City of Atlanta work he obtained while he was paying bribes to Adam Smith.


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