Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Former Grovetown councilman sentenced on federal charges

Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 5:06 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 1:20 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

A former Grovetown City Council member convicted of federal bribery charges in April was sentenced Mon­day to probation.

Former Grovetown city councilman Sonny McDowell was sentenced to 60 months probation for federal bribery charges on Monday.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Former Grovetown city councilman Sonny McDowell was sentenced to 60 months probation for federal bribery charges on Monday.


A federal jury convicted Leland J. “Sonny” McDowell of two counts of bribery after a three-day trial in Montgomery, Ala.

Federal Judge Mark E. Fuller sentenced McDowell to 60 months of probation and 500 hours of community service, according to Clark Morris of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Middle District of Alabama.

“It’s as good as it could have come out today,” McDowell said in Montgomery. “And it’s over. I’m coming home. … I just get to come home and live my life as normal as I can.”

McDowell was elected to the city council in 2009 and resigned in April after the conviction. Lee Briggs was appointed in August to fill the rest of his term, which expires at the end of the year.

McDowell, who pleaded not guilty in June 2012, was accused of offering a kickback to a former Alabama Depart­ment of Public Safety employee in 2007.

McDowell and James E. Potts, of Montgomery, faced a four-count indictment alleging bribery related to a program receiving federal funding.

Potts pleaded guilty to bribery as part of a negotiated plea agreement and testified against McDowell, Morris said.

Part of Potts’ public safety job in July 2007 was helping the Alabama Department of Human Resources solicit bids for an electronic fingerprint system. McDowell owned Southern Detention Technologies, which sold fingerprint machines. He is now the owner of Grayco Detention Equipment.

McDowell said he sold the department a machine to be used for fingerprint-based background checks on people who would work with children, the elderly and other vulnerable people.

The federal grand jury’s June indictment accused him of offering, and Potts of accepting, a $1,700 check and $1 for every fingerprint scan related to the department, according to the statement.

McDowell faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each charge, Morris said.

“It’s a relief,” McDowell said. “At least the wondering what’s going to happen is over.”

McDowell, who closed Grayco at the end of May as a result of the charges, said he hopes to join the workforce again soon.

Comments (9) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
my.voice
5182
Points
my.voice 09/23/13 - 04:13 pm
5
1
Grayco "Detention" Equipment

Grayco "Detention" Equipment

Really? - And why did he get to go home?

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 09/23/13 - 04:41 pm
0
0
As per gubmint guidelines:
Unpublished

privilege has it's privilege. Foxes in the henhouse.

sugarbutton
1261
Points
sugarbutton 09/23/13 - 08:08 pm
1
7
Glad to know Sonny and his family

Glad to know Sonny and his family can get on with their lives. It's been tough on them and it may have gone the other way and been a lot harsher. I'm happy that it came at as well as it did. Glad you're home Sonny. And Grovetown is your home.

Truth Matters
8097
Points
Truth Matters 09/23/13 - 09:39 pm
1
2
Ctrl+S I am saving this one,

Ctrl+S
I am saving this one, too.

Riverman1
94393
Points
Riverman1 09/24/13 - 03:37 am
4
0
Not Much

So now he goes back to the same business? The 500 hours of community service is an 8 hour day a week for a year. Not much.

soapy_725
44151
Points
soapy_725 09/24/13 - 04:03 am
0
0
Money talks, politicians walk. And the beat goes on, the beat..
Unpublished

Money talks, politicians walk. And the beat goes on, the beat..

soapy_725
44151
Points
soapy_725 09/24/13 - 04:31 am
0
0
soapy_725
44151
Points
soapy_725 09/24/13 - 04:32 am
0
0
Much ado about nothing. The Scorpion Pathology.
Unpublished

Much ado about nothing. The Scorpion Pathology.

soapy_725
44151
Points
soapy_725 09/24/13 - 04:33 am
0
0
Politician - money, power and influence peddling
Unpublished

Politician - money, power and influence peddling

soapy_725
44151
Points
soapy_725 09/24/13 - 04:34 am
0
0
Sonny one so true, we love you....Sonny, thank you for the......
Unpublished

Sonny one so true, we love you....Sonny, thank you for the......

seenitB4
98729
Points
seenitB4 09/24/13 - 07:02 am
3
0
wow

That was a light sentence....now make the best of your life.

Little Lamb
49260
Points
Little Lamb 09/24/13 - 07:05 am
1
0
Service

Can he do his Alabama community service in Grovetown?

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11294
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 09/24/13 - 07:07 am
1
0
Service

It's Federal Probation and Community Service, it can be served anywhere in the US.

Dixieman
17609
Points
Dixieman 09/24/13 - 08:06 am
2
0
Ah, politicians.

Think the rules don't apply to them. Guess what? They do.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 09/25/13 - 09:56 am
0
0
No sentence, really...

It's the political game and it's worked for years for many to the detriment of the taxpayers. If the punishment doesn't fit the crime....it's really no sentence, no detriment, at all. Welcome home Sonny.

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs