Former legislator pleads guilty
U.S. Attorney's Office: Man defrauded church of $250,000

ATLANTA - Disgraced former state legislator Ron Sailor pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal district court to defrauding his church of $250,000 even as he cooperated with federal investigators in a drug-related corruption probe, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Sailor, 33, of Norcross, pleaded guilty March 18 to laundering $375,000 in drug money with an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a drug dealer. But soon after, the government learned Sailor devised a scheme to obtain a $250,000 loan from the church he pastored for his personal use, United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said.

"As a result of his continued criminal conduct, Sailor now faces a much longer prison sentence than originally anticipated," he said.

Sailor, who served parts of DeKalb and Rockdale counties in the Georgia General Assembly until he resigned after his initial guilty plea, could receive a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 16.

The former legislator followed through with the loan scheme between January and March while he was cooperating with the government in the money laundering investigation, according to U.S. Just Department officials.

Sailor offered property owned by the Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church to Georgia Business Capital Bank as collateral for the loan, but did not have permission from the church. To obtain the money, the government said Sailor changed the church's corporation registration to reflect that he was its chief executive officer, forged the signature of a church officer and created false church bylaws.

Finally, just a week before he pleaded guilty in the corruption probe, Sailor deposited the loan - $217,584.48 after closing costs - into Capitol City Bank & Trust in the church's name and used $141,386.72 to pay personal expenses.

On March 18, Sailor entered a guilty plea in federal court to one count of drug money laundering.

The plea was the result of a series of meetings between Sailor and an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a drug dealer who was seeking to launder proceeds generated from the sale and distribution of cocaine, according to U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Patrick Crosby.