ATLANTA—DONALD E. FRANK, 47, of Monroe, Georgia, pleaded guilty today in federal district court to conspiring to take bribes while employed as a deputy police chief with DeKalb County.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Officers are sworn to uphold the law and protect the community. But this defendant sold his badge and acted as a private citizen’s personal enforcer in exchange for cash. Other dedicated DeKalb County officers brought this rogue police officer and his co-conspirator to the FBI’s attention.”
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, said, “Deputy Chief Frank abdicated his oath as a sworn police officer for personal financial gain. The vast majority of dutiful law enforcement officers will find this behavior abhorrent and the resulting investigation and prosecution of Frank as necessary and just. The FBI remains committed to investigating such allegations of public corruption and urges anyone with such information to contact their nearest FBI office.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: 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 on June 1, 2010, to charges relating to the bribes paid to FRANK and awaits sentencing.
The federal case against DURRETT is pending.
FRANK was charged in a criminal information with one count of conspiracy to take bribes. Today, he pleaded guilty to the criminal information before United States District Judge William S. Duffey. He could receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Sentencing has not yet been scheduled before Judge Duffey.
This case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Coppedge and Chris Bly are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney’s Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.