Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced this morning that the former office manager of the state cafeteria in Atlanta and her husband entered guilty pleas arising out of their theft of an estimated one million dollars from the Georgia Building Authority’s Floyd Office Building cafeteria between 1995 and 1998. In announcing the guilty pleas, Attorney General Baker stated, “The Carters used a position of trust and responsibility in state government to line their own pockets at taxpayer expense. Through the hard work of the GBI and the State Auditor working with prosecutors in my office, we brought these individuals to justice for their theft. My office will continue to vigorously prosecute public corruption and theft where the trust of the public has been abused because the people of Georgia deserve the highest level of integrity from state officials.”
Dianne Carter, the former manager of the Floyd Building cafeteria, pled guilty to one count of racketeering (RICO) and two counts of income tax evasion. She was sentenced to five years in prison to be followed by twenty-five years on probation. A hearing will be held in 30 days to determine the appropriate amount of restitution to be paid to the state. Her husband Elco Carter pled guilty to one count of theft, one count of conspiracy to defraud the state, and one count of income tax evasion. He was sentenced to serve one year in prison followed by nineteen years on probation.
Mrs. Carter served as office manager of the Floyd Building cafeteria office for three years. During that time the sales in the cafeteria appeared to drop continuously. Despite efforts to recoup the lost revenue, including changes in chefs and to the menus, the cafeteria still lost substantial revenue. It was not until a veteran restaurant manager was hired to oversee the cafeteria operations that theft was found to be the reason for the lost revenues. In July 1998, under the auspices of cross-training, Mrs. Carter was sent to work in another cafeteria. On the first day, sales in the Floyd Building cafeteria went up more than $2,000.00 and continued to remain up during Mrs. Carter’s absence.
An investigation by the GBI and State Auditors revealed that an estimated one million dollars had been stolen during Mrs. Carter's tenure in the cafeteria. Forensic evidence and circumstantial evidence gathered by the GBI revealed that Mrs. Carter had stolen the money. While Mr. Carter was not accused of participating in the actual thefts, he was a party to the theft in his encouragement of Mrs. Carter’s theft and in his efforts to conceal the stolen money.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General David McLaughlin and investigated by GBI Special Agent Clay Nix and David Arner of the State Auditor’s Office.