Ex-Atlanta water employee admits taking cash to fix overdue accounts

A former Atlanta water company employee admitted he pocketed thousands of dollars from customers who paid him to enter false credits on their overdue accounts.

Quintard Isler, 36, entered a guilty plea Monday to a single count of theft by taking by a government employee for diverting more than $3,000 in customer payments to his own use, according to Yvette Jones, spokeswoman for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.

Isler was sentenced to 10 years’ probation, fined $2,000 and ordered to pay restitution to the City of Atlanta in the amount of $3,645. He also must perform 250 hours of community service and can’t seek employment with any City of Atlanta agency during the term of his probation.

Isler was assigned to the Department of Watershed Management’s unit designed to help customers with questions about their water bills. He was not authorized to collect money from customers, Jones said. According to prosecutors, between May and July of 2010, Isler made undercover arrangements with customers trying to reconcile delinquent water accounts. In exchange for cash fees, Isler offered to enter payment credits on customer accounts. Those false credits resulted in lower account balances and the restoration of water services for many customers.

Supervisors uncovered the scheme during an audit of customer accounts. The investigation revealed that Isler pocketed money from 17 customers who admitted during an amnesty period to participating in the scam, officials said. Isler was arrested in August 2010.

Fulton County Magistrate Judge Walter Lovett presided over plea proceedings Monday and admonished Isler for casting a bad light on government employees.

Trial is pending for Yolanda Singleton, another Watershed Management employee indicted in conjunction with this case.

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