Elaine Boyer stood in front of a federal judge Wednesday afternoon and pleaded guilty to systematically bilking her DeKalb County constituents out of more than $90,000.
U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans told the former county commissioner that she could be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in prison. However, Evans said, federal prosecutors had recommended that Boyer receive a lesser sentence, based on her guilty plea to mail fraud conspiracy and wire fraud and on other factors.
The judge also told Boyer she must pay restitution.
Boyer, who had represented north DeKalb as the panel’s only Republican, admitted to engineering a two-year kickback scheme involving a phony consultant, and using a county Visa card as if it were her personal debit card.
The federal charges say Boyer tapped taxpayers for more than $93,000. An investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, however, puts the figure at just over $100,000.
The AJC found Boyer paid evangelist Rooks Boynton installments ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 from late 2009 to late 2011, claiming he gave her advice and did research on transporation, legislative issues and Grady hospital.
The newspaper found no evidence that the evangelist and onetime candidate for DeKalb CEO ever performed any work. The federal charges, which do not name Boynton, say a purported “adviser” kicked about $58,000 to Boyer and kept about $20,000 for himself.
Boynton has not been charged with a crime.
Boyer also ran up thousands of dollars in personal purchases on her county Visa card – a purchasing card that draws down public funds so officials don’t have to spend their own money on office expenses.
The AJC first exposed how Boyer used the card for family airline tickets, rental cars, a ski resort booking and personal cell phone charges in March, sparking the federal investigation.