Corrupt conduct leads to sentencing for former DeKalb County deputy police chief

4:29 PM, Oct 25, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Former DeKalb County Deputy Police Chief Donald E. Frank was sentenced on Thursday for taking bribes.

According to United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, Frank, 49, of Monroe, along with Amin Budhwani, 48, a citizen of India living in Atlanta, had pleaded guilty and cooperated against a third defendant in the case, Willie Daren Durrett, 47, of Tucker.

At the time of the bribery, Durrett was serving as DeKalb County Police Lieutenant . Durret is due to be sentenced on Friday morning.

Frank was sentenced to 3 years, 7 months in jail , to be followed by 3 years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, "Budhwani paid police officers Frank and Durrett to act as his collection agents, and to intimidate citizens they were sworn to protect into settling their financial disputes with him. Instead of enforcing the law, these officers chose to break it, lining their own pockets in the process."

Budhwani was sentenced to 1 year, 8 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and fined $15,000.

Yates, and information presented in court said that Durrett, from September 2008 through August 2009, conspired with Frank, to accept money from local businessman Budhwani in exchange for influence and official actions as DeKalb County police officers.

Budhwani had owned and operated several Atlanta gas stations and convenience stores. He had talked to Durrett in 2007 about helping to intimidate a small business owner with whom Budhwani had a dispute over money.

Durrett made threatening phone calls to the business owner, and said he was a police officer in DeKalb County. In result, the business owner paid Budhwani over $10,000 to settle the argument. Durrett also ordered the business owner's employees to cash their paychecks at Budhwani's convenience stores.

In 2008, Durrett introduced Budhwani to Frank, and told Frank that he should be sure and get paid for any work he did for Budhwani. In turn, Durrett shook Budhwani down for payments.  He would ask Budhwani how he liked the services done, those jobs that Durrett and Frank did on Budhwani's behalf.

Budhwani testified he paid $5,000 to Durrett.

In October of 2008, Budhwani had another dispute with a business partner, and he once more reached out to Durrett and Frank for help. Budhwani testified he paid Durrett $2,000 for his assistance in this incident.

Frank continued to coerce people who owed money to Budhwani to pay him the money they owed.

At the trial, one of Budhwani's employees testified that Frank made him sign a repayment letter agreeing to pay Budhwani $20,000. The employee paid the money, saying he was scared of being put in jail or deported.

In all, Budhwani paid Frank and Durrett thousands of dollars for using their positions as DeKalb County police officers to assist Budhwani with his disputes.

The FBI became aware of their corrupt activity after other DeKalb County officers reported the officers involved. Frank was fired from the DCPD on May 26, 2010. Durrett resigned in 2011.

Frank and Budhwani both testified against Durrett, and a jury found Durrett guilty on July 20, 2012 of conspiring to take bribes and on two counts of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from Budhwani in 2007 and 2008.

 

  

 

 

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