A former Gwinnett County planning commissioner accused of stealing $426,000 from Peachtree Corners Presbyterian Church has avoided prison by agreeing to pay back the money over the next four years.
Floy Jumper, 60, was a member of the church for 50 years and its treasurer for nearly three decades before officials there filed a police complaint against him in August 2010.
Jumper was sentenced last week to 10 years probation and a three-year prison term, which will be waived if he repays the church $326,786. The balance of the stolen money has already been repaid, according to church officials and Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter.
Glen Smotherman, the church’s current treasurer, said church officials participated in negotiations over Jumper’s sentence and are pleased with the outcome. Smotherman, who was part of the church’s investigation into how much money was taken, said they traced the thefts back to at least 2002. He called it a “pattern” of theft.
“We would like to be paid back in full,” Smotherman said. “It was devastating to know that the money was missing and that an otherwise faithful and longtime member of our church had taken it. That was the most crushing thing.”
Porter said he would normally recommend jail time for theft of that magnitude, but said the church’s desire to be repaid was the overriding factor.
When asked if he thinks Jumper is good for the restitution, Porter said: “He’s a highly motivated individual. At the end of four years one of two things is going to happen — he’ll either have paid back the money or he’ll go to prison.”
Jumper spent five years on the county’s planning commission, after being appointed by former Gwinnett Commissioner Kevin Kenerly. He also worked as an agent in Kenerly’s brokerage firm.
Kenerly was indicted on a bribery charge last year, accused of taking a $1 million from developer David Jenkins in exchange for his vote in favor of the county buying land from Jenkins. Kenerly has argued that the money was a legitimate payment to cash out his partnership with Jenkins, who has been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony.
In an interview Tuesday, Jumper said he is grateful for “the opportunity to do the right thing.”
“I’m happy because it gives me time to do that,” Jumper said.
When asked how he would make repayment, Jumper said he has several ideas but “would rather not get into that.” He then added: “My wife and I, this is our No. 1 priority. Whatever it takes.
“The real estate market has been pretty slow, so the sale of our home wouldn’t do it. But that may come into it in the future — maybe the near future.”