U.S. District Court Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr. has continued the sentencing hearing for Gwinnett developer Mark Gary until late February.
Gary pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge Oct. 1 in Judge Pannell’s courtroom and was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 3. Gary’s sentencing is now scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in Courtroom 2307 of the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Atlanta.
Federal prosecutors had requested a sentencing delay of up to 60 days to facilitate matters relating to Gary’s cooperation in an ongoing investigation of government corruption in Gwinnett County.
Gary admitted to bribing former Gwinnett County commissioner Shirley Lasseter to obtain commission approval in 2009 of a controversial $4-million waste transfer station in which he had a personal stake. Gary was implicated by Lasseter in the corruption investigation.
After Lasseter voted in favor of the permit for the project, Gary gave her son John Fanning a bribe consisting of $30,000 worth of chips at an out-of-state casino. Fanning reportedly later shared the money with Lasseter. Although the Gwinnett County Commission approved it, the waste transfer station was never built.
A Duluth resident, Gary, 39, was arraigned Sept. 5 before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Justin Anand on the federal bribery charge, waived indictment, and was released on bond. He remains out on bond.
Gary faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In determining his sentence, the court will consider federal sentencing guidelines. His cooperation in the corruption investigation also will be considered.
Lasseter was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison without parole by Judge Pannell in September for accepting bribes. She pleaded guilty in May to accepting $36,500 in bribes during 2011 from an FBI agent posing as a South Florida real estate developer to support a proposed development in her district. Lasseter, who represented Duluth, Suwanee and Sugar Hill, resigned from her District 1 commission seat.
She was not charged in the Gary case. Neither was Fanning.
Lasseter began serving her sentence at a federal prison camp in Marianna, FL, Dec. 12.
Fanning of Dacula and Carl “Skip” Cain of Flowery Branch were each sentenced to serve 57 months in prison for participating in the bribery scheme and for drug trafficking.
Cain acted as a “bagman” for Lasseter and Fanning, arranging the bribes with the FBI agent and setting up meetings where payments were made. Fanning and Cain each laundered $10,000 in purported drug money and also acted as drug couriers for fake cocaine in a FBI sting operation.
Cain has been ordered by Judge Pannell to report to prison in Edgefield, SC, Jan. 7.
Lasseter, Fanning and Cain received reduced sentences for cooperating with the corruption investigation.
Fanning has been held in the Gwinnett County Detention Center since his arrest in early October on charges including felony aggravated assault and false imprisonment resulting from an altercation with his estranged wife at their home in Dacula. He was denied bond in the domestic violence case.
Judge Pannell signed the order delaying Gary’s sentencing on Nov. 26.