AUGUSTA, GA—BERNARD WALKER, 44, of Waynesboro, Georgia was sentenced yesterday by United States District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen, Jr. to 33 months’ imprisonment for fraudulently obtaining checks worth tens of thousands of dollars from a federally-funded, not- for-profit organization located in Augusta, Georgia and then laundering that money through businesses located in Waynesboro, Georgia. WALKER had previously pleaded guilty to those crimes on January 15, 2011.
Evidence presented at hearings in this case showed that WALKER committed these crimes over a span of two and a half years while he was a nutrition specialist for the Central Savannah River Area Economic Opportunity Authority and was responsible for providing meals for the low-income children who were enrolled in Head Start programs in approximately eleven counties in the Augusta, Georgia area. In addition to sentencing WALKER yesterday, Judge Bowen signed an order forfeiting WALKER’s ownership of two automobiles, a BMW 528I and an Audi A6 Quattro, that he purchased with the proceeds of his thefts.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Stealing taxpayers” money that was allocated to buy meals for our children is reprehensible. The lengthy prison sentence in this case sends a message that the egregious theft of public funds will not be tolerated.”
Under the United States Sentencing Commission’s guidelines, WALKER faced a range of imprisonment between 27 and 33 months. In addition to a prison sentence which was at the top end of the sentencing guidelines range, WALKER was ordered to pay restitution and also serve three years of supervised release after he is released from prison. Regarding the length of WALKER’s prison sentence, Tarver noted that there is no parole in the federal system.
WALKER’s convictions arise out of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Offices of Inspector General for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Assistant United States Attorney David M. Stewart prosecuted the case. For additional information, contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 341-7842.