Channel 2 Action News has confirmed a University System of Georgia Board of Regents member has been charged in an alleged $1.8 million racketeering scheme.
Arrest warrants were issued for Clarence Dean Alford Thursday after the Georgia Bureau of investigation launched an investigation at the request of the Georgia Attorney General's Office.
He's charged with racketeering and attempted theft by taking. Alford, who represented Georgia's 4th Congressional District, resigned from his position with USG.
"Well, the allegations are shocking," Georgia State University law school's Robert Weber said.
Channel 2's Aaron Diamant asked Weber for expert analysis on the case.
"He, like everyone else, is going to get his day in court and is innocent until proven guilty, but the allegations are, I would say, dramatic," Weber said.
Alford is accused of creating fake invoices and exploiting a common industry practice called "factoring." It's how businesses can get quick cash by selling accounts receivable to a third party at a discount.
"The factoring industry is particularly susceptible to the risk of fraud," Weber said.
Alford is accused of forging documents indicating USG would pay Versant, a Florida-based factoring company, around $500,000 to satisfy a debt with Alford's own company, Allied Energy, based in Rockdale County.
Alford is also accused of trying to trick Versant into buying a bunch of accounts receivable for nearly $1.8 million.
"It happens all the time. It's just part of doing business in that industry," Weber said.
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents called an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon.
Alford has arranged to turn himself in. He has sat on other state boards and served five terms as a state representative.
Our calls to his lawyer were not returned.
USG Chairman Don Waters sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:
"Members of the Board of Regents must adhere to the highest ethical and moral standards. This is essential to ensuring the public's trust, to fulfilling our duties and obligations to students, and safeguarding the integrity of the University System of Georgia and its Board. The allegations brought against Dean Alford, who resigned from the Board today, are shocking and deeply upsetting. We will continue assisting law enforcement in any capacity necessary throughout the investigation."
Attorney General Christopher M. Carr issued the following statement:
"Those who are trusted to be public servants must discharge their duties ethically and honestly, and when they do not, this office and our law enforcement partners will hold them accountable."
Gov. Brian Kemp had just reappointed Alford to the Board of Regents in July. Kemp released the following statement:
"Every state official must follow the highest ethical standards in all aspects of their conduct. That is why I demanded, and received, Dean Alford's resignation from the Board of Regents, effective immediately. The Attorney General and Georgia Bureau of Investigation will conduct a complete and thorough investigation."