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Former Department of Revenue Employee Indicted for Stealing Tax Payments Made by Georgia Taxpayers

PRESS ADVISORY

Former Department of Revenue Employee Indicted for Stealing Tax Payments Made by Georgia Taxpayers

January 24, 2011

The Fulton County Grand Jury returned a twelve count indictment today against Lawanda Harkness for her role in the theft of money orders that were originally intended to pay state tax obligations of six Georgia taxpayers.  The indictment alleges that Harkness, an employee in the mailroom of the Georgia Department of Revenue during the time in 2008 when the thefts occurred, took six money orders payable to the Department of Revenue.  Harkness then allegedly altered the money orders to change the payee from the Department of Revenue to Lawanda Harkness.

Harkness was indicted for six counts of theft by taking for her alleged role in the theft of the money orders, each a felony punishable by one to fifteen years imprisonment (O.C.G.A. §§ 16-8-2 and 16-8-12).  The alleged alteration of the money orders changing the payee from the Department of Revenue to Lawanda Harkness formed the basis for six counts of first degree forgery, a felony punishable by one to ten years imprisonment (O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1).

Assistant Attorney General Greg Lohmeier is prosecuting the case on behalf of the State of Georgia.  Lohmeier presented the case to the Fulton County Grand Jury on January 21, 2011, and the Grand Jury returned the indictments today in Fulton County Superior Court.

Members of the public should keep in mind that indictments contain only allegations against the individual(s) against whom the indictment is sought.  A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and it will be the government’s burden at trial to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the allegations contained in the indictment.