ATLANTA — A former state law enforcement inspector will serve just over one year in federal prison for making more than 325 personal charges totaling more than $60,000 on government credit cards.
Sandra J. Stevens, 46, of Covington, worked for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation from 1994 until 2016. She once served as the special agent in charge of the Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, in charge of about 25 employees, and an inspector of the Investigative Division, over about 55 GBI employees in a job that paid her more than $100,000 per year.
“No member of law enforcement is above the law,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said.
“Stevens traded the years of distinguished service and trust that she built as an agent for personal gain. Citizens must have confidence in the integrity of those entrusted with law enforcement power.”
Stevens — formerly known as Sandra J. Putnam — received a purchasing card from the GBI in 1998 and was promoted to the position of special agent a year later.
Prosecutors said that between 2013 and 2016, Stevens used her P-card and those of other GBI employees to make unauthorized purchases of goods and services for the personal benefit of herself and others, including a seven-piece dining set ($562.99), a cornhole game set ($229.99), two chaise lounge chairs ($399.99) and a 65-inch ultra HD smart television set ($1,597.99).
She also submitted altered receipts to the GBI, changing the description of the items purchased and/or the addresses to which the items were shipped.
Prosecutors said on May 27, 2016, Stevens used another GBI employee’s P-card to buy a $930.12 sofa from Amazon.com and have it delivered to her home in Covington. She then submitted a false receipt to the state, claiming the order was for 12 anti-spyware software discs which were to be shipped to the GBI headquarters in Decatur.
The U.S. attorney’s office became involved because federal grant money from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security were affected.
Stevens pleaded guilty Jan. 3 to mail fraud. District Judge Steve C. Jones sentenced Stevens this week to one year and one day in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release.
“It is imperative sworn officers obey the law while they enforce the law,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds said. “This sentence sends a clear message that public corruption will not be tolerated and the violators, no matter who they are, will be held accountable.”
A grand jury indicted Stevens in 2018 on four counts of mail fraud and three counts of federal program theft.