Longtime State Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 30 counts including mail, wire, and tax fraud.
He's accused of misappropriating $1 million in donations for two charitable organizations, including one he founded to help underprivileged children learn to read.
U.S. Attorney Sally Yates says he received donations of more than $750,000 for the literacy program from organizations such as Coca Cola, Georgia Pacific, and Northside Hospital.
"There was no mentoring or tutoring of students going on... there were no literacy programs being conducted in Georgia or anywhere else," she says.
Yates says, instead, Brooks used the money for his personal gain including buying furniture, jewelry, life insurance, making home repairs, and paying utilities.
Brooks is also accused of misappropriating $300,000 from the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials of which he was served as president for two decades.
Yates says, unbeknownst to members, he took out bank loans through GABEO and kept the money for his personal use.
WSB's Sandra Parrish reported back in February that the grand jury was investigating Brooks and called at least two witnesses with close ties to the lawmaker.
Both he and those witnesses said at the time they believed the investigation was prompted by GABEO's annual reenactment of the 1946 Moore's Ford Bridge lynchings that left two black couples dead.
Yates would only say the FBI began its investigation after law enforcement received enough information that prompted further scrutiny. She says they looked at bank account records and began unraveling the scheme.
By law, Gov. Nathan Deal has 14 days to appoint a three-member panel to decide where the indictment adversely affects the administration of the office. If so, it can recommend that Deal suspend Brooks. The governor can then decide whether or not to accept the panel's decision.
If Brooks is suspended, his seat will remain open until the next regularly scheduled election during which time he would continue to receive legislative pay.