The City of Atlanta’s former Chief Financial Officer, Jimmie “Jim” A. Beard, has been charged in an eight-count federal indictment with wire fraud, theft from the government, possession of machine guns, making a false statement, and obstructing federal tax laws.

“Jim Beard allegedly abused his position as one of the most powerful executives in the City of Atlanta to commit federal crimes for his own gain, including stealing tens of thousands of dollars of the public’s money, possessing machine guns that members of the public cannot have, and obstructing an IRS audit,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “Those in government leadership positions have an obligation to set the organization’s culture for ethical conduct.  As alleged by the Grand Jury, Beard fundamentally betrayed that obligation.”

“Jimmie A. Beard systematically defrauded the City of Atlanta and impeded the IRS from assessing his true tax liability,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey. “His desire for money, along with the power and luxuries it buys, drove him to allegedly perpetrate crimes violating his position and public trust. Thanks to the financial expertise of IRS-CI special agents, who worked side-by-side with our federal partners to uncover these schemes, Beard will now face the consequences of his actions.”

According to the indictment, the City of Atlanta issued Beard a credit card for official City of Atlanta business-related purchases in 2012. Before receiving the credit card, Beard signed a user agreement acknowledging the terms and conditions of its use, including agreeing that the credit card “shall be used for business purposes only,” and that “personal charges” were “prohibited.”

Between August 2013 and March 2018, Beard devised and executed a scheme to defraud to obtain money and property from the City of Atlanta for private use, including using City of Atlanta funds for the following:

(1) to pay for personal travel expenses for himself, his family, and his travel companions;

(2) to buy items for personal use, including two machine guns;

(3) to pay for travel to conferences or meetings for which the conference or meeting host reimbursed Beard, but Beard kept the money and did not give the reimbursement funds to the City of Atlanta; and

(4) to pay for travel that Beard subsequently claimed to the IRS were travel expenses related to his sole proprietorship consulting work that Beard never disclosed to the City of Atlanta on any Financial Disclosure Statement.

In 2013, Beard earned a salary of approximately $221,108 for his position as CFO for the City of Atlanta.

A photo of the Atlanta City Council chambers on January 7, 2019. Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *