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STATE SENATOR FOUND GUILTY ON ALL FIVE MAIL FRAUD CHARGES

PRESS ADVISORY

STATE SENATOR FOUND GUILTY ON ALL FIVE MAIL FRAUD CHARGES

July 21, 1999

Richard H. Deane, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General, State of Georgia; Tom Bush, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Milton E. Nix, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, announced today that a federal jury has found Diana Harvey Johnson, 52, of Savannah, Georgia, guilty of all five counts of mail fraud. According to Deane:

On March 17, 1999, a federal Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Johnson with five counts of mail fraud. According to that indictment, from about January 1994 to May 1997 Johnson, while serving as an elected member of the Georgia General Assembly representing the Savannah area, devised a scheme to defraud the citizens of the State of Georgia by failing to disclose conflicts of interest and profits she derived from her elected position, influence, and decisions as an elected official and employee of the State of Georgia. According to the charges, beginning in early 1994, Senator Johnson devised a scheme to use her office as an elected official to arrange for state funds to be disbursed to a pair of non-profit organizations that, in turn, funneled more than $80,000 of the money back to Senator Johnson through businesses based in Savannah that she owned and operated, CAA Consulting Corporation (CAA) and Rainbow School and Office Supplies.

According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, as a state legislator Ms. Johnson lobbied and voted for the State to allocate money to the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism to promote African-American tourism. Senator Johnson having failed to disclose that she exercised financial control over two organizations, 'Greater Savannah Black Tourism Network' and 'Peach State Black Tourism Association,' or that she arranged for much of the state money to be funneled through those two organizations to her company, CAA Consulting Corporation, the Department disbursed state money to Greater Savannah and Peach State. The indictment charged that the fraudulent scheme produced $80,000 in state funds between June of 1994 and December of 1996 for services provided by Senator Johnson not worth that amount, and that Senator Johnson continued to lobby and vote for additional state funds to go to Peach State while she continued to conceal her interest in these funds.

The trial in this case began July 7, 1999. The jury deliberated for approximately seven hours before delivering its verdict.

Sentencing has been set before United States District Judge G. Ernest Tidwell on Friday, November 5, 1999, at 9:30 a.m. before United States District Judge G. Ernest Tidwell.

The Georgia Attorney General's office assisted the United States Attorney's office in prosecuting the case. The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney David Nahmias and Georgia Assistant Attorney General Stacey Hydrick, designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuted the case.