“Bae attempted to buy his way around certain zoning restrictions by offering bribes to Doraville employees,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “But, we all play by the same rules. As expected, those employees reported Bae’s conduct and, as a result, Bae has been brought to justice.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “While this case serves to remind us of those individuals so willing to violate the law at any level, it should also reaffirm a faith in our public servants who saw this for what it was and reported it to the proper authorities. The FBI will continue to dedicate significant investigative resources as we work with our various law enforcement partners in combating public corruption.”
“Doraville is thankful to be able to work in partnership with the FBI. Public corruption erodes the confidence and trust that our citizens have in our government officials and employees,” said Doraville Police Chief John King. “Doraville Police works tirelessly with the citizens and our partnering law-enforcement agencies to make sure that our city is free of corruption and filled with trust.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: Bae is the owner of Moon Lingerie, a lingerie business located in Doraville, Ga. In April 2012, Bae bought a commercial building located on Buford Highway in Doraville, Ga. At the time of the purchase, the property was zoned for retail use and could not be used as a wholesale location as Bae wanted. In August 2012, Bae met with an employee of the City of Doraville and attempted to give the employee an envelope of cash, in an effort to have the Buford Highway property re-zoned. The employee did not take the envelope and reported Bae’s attempt to local law enforcement authorities.
In October 2013, Bae asked to meet with a member of Doraville’s Community Development Department. Based on the allegations from August 2012, the staff member (“Staff Member”) reported Bae’s request for a meeting to law enforcement authorities and agreed to cooperate with them. Thereafter, the FBI and the Doraville Police Department conducted a series of undercover operations involving Bae. In particular, on October 17, 2013, Bae met with the Staff Member and an undercover officer (“UC”), who was posing member of Doraville’s Community Development Department.
During the meeting, Bae agreed to pay approximately $100,000 to have the Buford Highway property re-zoned to permit wholesale uses. On October 18, 2013, Bae met with the UC and re-negotiated the price to obtain a wholesale re-zoning from $100,000 down to $70,000. On October 29, 2013, Bae made a $5,000 payment to the Staff Member as a deposit to get the Buford Highway property re-zoned. On the next day, Bae gave the UC a $3,000 payment, which the UC said would secure a vote in favor of Bae’s re-zoning application. On November 14, 2013, the FBI arrested Bae.
On December 3, 2013, Bae, 35, of Duluth, Ga., was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud and bribery. Today, Bae pleaded guilty to one count of honest services wire fraud. In determining Bae’s sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 30, 2014, at 10:00, before United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Doraville Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis and Special Assistant United States Attorney Erin Sanders are prosecuting the case.