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Man Accused Of Trying To Bilk Convicted Federal Convict Of $15K

Patch logo Patch 8/26/2021 Marcus K. Garner
text: Federal prosecutors say Brookhaven man posed as GBI employee, promised to have federal charges dismissed in exchange for $15,000 cash. © Lauren Ramsby/Patch Federal prosecutors say Brookhaven man posed as GBI employee, promised to have federal charges dismissed in exchange for $15,000 cash.

ATLANTA — Federal prosecutors are accusing a Brookhaven man of grifting a convicted criminal defendant with the promise of dismissed charges and a reduced sentence for $15,000.

Jamal Harrison, 33, was indicted on six counts of federal wire fraud charges for allegations that he used text messages to extort money from an individual living in Atlanta facing federal prison time.

“Harrison allegedly promised a favorable outcome in the victim’s federal case when instead it was just a scam,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said in a statement. “If a member of the public is asked to pay a bribe, don’t pay it and call the FBI immediately.”

According to the indictment obtained by Patch, the individual identified only as “Person 1” was convicted and sentenced to federal penalties including prison in July 2020. Harrison approached the individual a month later claiming to be a GBI employee with ties to the federal prosecutor on Person 1’s case and a proposal to vacate all the charges.

“I promise you I can help you get your old life back,” Harrison said in a text message to Person 1 detailed in the federal indictment.

According to court records, the Aug. 11, 2020 message was followed two days later by Harrison offering a price for his aid.

“You can get your walking papers for 15K,” Harrison said in the text. “Ten to (the) person in charge and five to (the) paperwork person. Your (sic) welcome …”

Person 1 refused, court records show.

At some point after this exchange, Harrison met with Person 1 and dialed up the pressure for Person 1 to pay him, shifting his offer for help to a threat to have the prosecutor add more charges if no money was exchanged, prosecutors said about the case

Some time at the beginning of September 2020, Harrison texted Person 1 an image of GBI headquarters saying, “I gotta be in the judges chambers by noon 2 p.m. at the latest.”

On Sept. 3, 2020, Harrison sent what appeared to be a confirmation of receipt of what prosecutors said was $12,000 in the form of a text message of a photo of an image of an envelope filled with cash saying, “Handing this off in a Hr.”

He kept the cash, prosecutors said. But Harrison engaged with Person 1 again, asking for the remaining $3,000 to have the case dismissed.

By January, 2021, however, the case was still active and Person 1’s attorney learned of the communication with Harrison and arranged a meeting with the prosecutor on the case and the Federal agents investigating. Person 1 pleaded guilty in the case, and plans for a sting were set up for the next time Harrison reached out claiming that he could have the case closed for more money.

Later that month Harrison reached out to Person 1 and the indictment shows two final text messages referring to the dismissal as the “big D.”

Feb. 22, 2021: “Time is winding down and a SECURED yes on the big D is gonna wrap your case up.”

Feb. 24, 2021: “Convo had & it’s set in stone. . . enjoy your normal life again and wait on the big D.”

In March prosecutors said Person 1 recorded the meeting with Harrison, the exchange of $3,000 and what court records say was Harrison’s guarantee of a speedy dismissal.

Harrison was indicted Wednesday and a federal warrant for his arrest was granted. At the time of publishing, he was not in custody.

“Every American citizen has rights under our Constitution and should report anyone who attempts to bribe them,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “No matter who the victim is, the FBI will fully investigate any allegations of a crime.”

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