Former State Lawmaker, Regent Pleads Guilty To Racketeering

CONYERS, Ga. (AP) — A former Georgia state lawmaker and university regent was sentenced to eight years in prison for racketeering, the state attorney general's office announced.

Dean Alford was indicted in May in Rockdale County on charges of racketeering, fraud and forgery relating to allegations that he faked contracts while seeking money from a financial company.

After pleading guilty to racketeering on Thursday, Alford received a sentence of 15 years, with eight to be served in prison and the remainder on probation, the attorney general's news release said. A condition of his probation is that he may not conduct any business with the state.

Alford was arrested in 2019 and accused of falsely claiming that his company, Allied Energy Services, was owed $2.2 million from five entities, including the University of Georgia and Georgia Military College, a public college not run by the regents. He also allegedly claimed to be owed money from two banks and a solar energy firm.

University System of Georgia officials said the invoices were fake and that universities don’t do business with regents. Alford resigned from the board shortly thereafter, in October 2019.

The allegations in the indictment revolve around a common business practice known as factoring, in which a business will sell rights to future income to a lender in exchange for up-front money. The lender profits by buying the future income at a discount. Alford is accused of transmitting fraudulent documents to prove he had future accounts worth $2.2 million as part of an effort to sell them for nearly $1.7 million.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in August 2020 brought civil charges against Alford, saying he fraudulently raised $23 million for Allied Energy from at least 100 investors from 2017 to 2019. Alford settled those charges without admitting guilt and was ordered in April to pay $10.8 million to the investors.

Dozens of investors also sued Alford.

Alford served 10 years in the state House before serving on the state Board of Education, the board of the Technical College System of Georgia and the Board of Regents.