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Attorney General Baker Indicts Former Georgia Tech Employee in Massive Purchasing Card Abuse Case

PRESS ADVISORY

Attorney General Baker Indicts Former Georgia Tech Employee in Massive Purchasing Card Abuse Case

March 24, 2008

(Atlanta)           Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that the Fulton County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against Michelle Harris, a/k/a Michelle Dunbar in Superior Court for one count of Racketeering, a felony that carries a potential prison sentence of between one and twenty years.  According to Attorney General Baker, who sought the indictment, Harris was employed at Georgia Tech as a program coordinator, and during that employment she was issued a purchasing card (P-card) for her to use in the course of her duties at Georgia Tech.  Harris allegedly used that card to make purchases of personal items and to pay for personal expenses totaling $173,186.46 during the time period from June 6, 2003 until May 4, 2007.

Baker, in announcing the indictment, promised that his office would “continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute any criminal misuse of purchasing cards.”  He continued by saying that, “while the actions of a few have cast a pall over the entire system of state purchasing, it is my hope that the aggressive efforts of law enforcement in rooting out this fraud will restore the public’s trust that their monies are being spent in ways that are both proper and accountable.”    Baker’s office presented the case to the Fulton County Grand Jury on Friday, March 21, 2008,

The alleged thefts by Harris in her use of her P-card caused monies to be drawn from Georgia Tech foundation accounts, a Kauffman Foundation account, and National Science Foundation grants.  All allegedly stolen grant monies have been repaid by Georgia Tech.

The investigation was conducted cooperatively by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts, The National Science Foundation, and the Georgia Tech Department of Internal Auditing.  Prosecution of the case will be handled by Assistant Attorney General Laura Pfister.