LAWRENCEVILLE —A Gwinnett grand jury has indicted former sheriff’s department Maj. Nicholas Neal, charging him with lying to investigators and profiting from transactions with the county.
The indictment returned this week charged Neal with false statements and writings, identity fraud, theft by taking and 11 separate counts of “sale of property to political subdivision by officer or employee.” The charges, dating back as far as 2010, have long been pursued by Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter.
Wednesday’s indictment came several months after Porter was given the findings of a probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
“I think the GBI did a great job, and the sheriff’s department in their phase of it did a good job,” Porter told the Daily Post on Thursday. “I don’t have any personal feelings about going forward but I’m glad to have the investigation completed and get the case moving forward again.”
Investigations into Neal began more than a year ago after allegations surfaced that he attempted to use his position to gain a county towing contract. Former Commissioner Shirely Lasseter — now in federal prison herself — reportedly provided information to the GBI.
This week’s grand jury action charges Neal with lying to a GBI investigator by claiming the towing business he was involved with “was not his and belonged to his wife.” It also alleges that Neal, through a business called Southeastern Brake and Supplies, profited from the sale of “automobile and truck brakes and rotors” to Gwinnett County on at least 11 separate occassions. The transactions, worth thousands of dollars, reportedly occurred between Oct. 8, 2010, and May 19, 2011.
Georgia law prohibits government employees from selling personal property to employers if the profit would eclipse $800 per quarter. If convicted, each count tied to that charge can carry up to a five-year sentence.
The theft by taking charges included in the indictment stem from Neal allegedly used a computer at another business, Fleetwood Towing, to pay $400 toward his American Express bill, Porter said.