DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS MANAGER PLEADS GUILTY TO IDENTITY FRAUD

Defendant Admits to Bilking Agency Out of $20K in Purchases

October 17, 2013

Atlanta– Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. announces the conviction by guilty plea in the fraud case against a former Deputy Director of Operations with the Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC). 42-year-old Benjamin Hopkins was indicted in July on 35-counts of identity fraud for using his purchasing privileges with a government vendor to buy tens of thousands of dollars in electronic equipment for his personal use.

The scheme came to light in November 2010 when a representative for Global Government Education Solutions, the DOCs vendor, became suspicious following the purchase of an Xbox gaming system and two iPods. The Department of Corrections launched an internal investigation into those purchases and determined 35 other unauthorized purchases totaling $20, 889.08 had been made over the course of nearly two years. Hopkins was interviewed, admitted making unauthorized purchases and was later terminated.

During plea proceedings before Fulton County Magistrate Judge Walter Lovett Wednesday, Hopkins was sentenced to eight years on probation and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service. He must also make full restitution to the Georgia Department of Corrections and pay a $5,000 fine.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Jay Hughes assigned to the Public Integrity Unit along with Deputy District Attorney Shondeana Morris with assistance from PIU Director of Investigations Benjie Fennell. William King, Chief Investigator of the Criminal Intelligence Unit of the Georgia DOC and Sharon Kelso, Senior Investigator of the Internal Investigations Unit of the Georgia DOC, led the initial investigation.

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