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LANIER COUNTY COMMISSIONER PLEADS GUILTY TO TWENTY-TWO COUNTS OF FALSE STATEMENT

PRESS ADVISORY

LANIER COUNTY COMMISSIONER PLEADS GUILTY TO TWENTY-TWO COUNTS OF FALSE STATEMENT

February 22, 1999

ATLANTA - Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker announced today that Carolene Johnson, a county commissioner in Lanier County, Georgia, entered a guilty plea in Fulton County Superior Court to twenty-two counts of false statement. Johnson was sentenced as a first offender to five years probation on each count to run concurrent, a $7,500.00 fine, and 100 hours of community service.

On December 19, 1995, Johnson was indicted for forty-four counts of false statement, O.C.G.A. § 16-10-20, and twenty-two counts of false swearing, O.C.G.A. § 16-10-71. Johnson operated the Lakeland Driver Improvement Clinic in Lanier County, Georgia, a school that offered courses for people convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The State requires those who have been convicted of DUI to complete such a course in order to get their driver's license reinstated. Johnson falsified the certificates of completion and submitted them to the Department of Public Safety in Fulton County, Georgia, where the licenses were reinstated.

"For years I have fought to strengthen our DUI laws," Baker said. "I am appalled that anyone would allow a DUI offender back on the road before completing the state mandated DUI course. I hope this prosecution sends a strong message that this type of dangerous misconduct will not be tolerated in Georgia."

This case was investigated by Special Agent Mike Clayton of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stacey K. Hydrick.