Former DeKalb Commissioner Elaine Boyer stood in a federal courtroom Friday, March 20, and tearfully apologized to her family and also to the citizens of the county for misusing county money.
“To the people of DeKalb County, I am deeply, deeply sorry,” Boyer said.
Moments later, Senior U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans sentenced Boyer to 14 months in federal prison on her guilty pleas in September to mail and wire fraud charges. Prosecutors say veteran commissioner, who resigned her post last August, funneled county funds to personal accounts and used county funds to help pay for family vacations, purchases at high-end department stores and other personal expenses.
Boyer’s husband, John Boyer, has pleaded guilty to a related charge and is scheduled to be sentenced by Evans on May 6.
Evans also ordered Boyer to pay more than $80,000 in restitution to the county and to spend three years on supervised release after completing her prison term. The judge said Boyer could begin service her sentence after May 10 so she could see one of her daughter’s graduate from college.
Boyer told a courtroom filled with about three dozen supporters, including family members, that she was “embarrassed and humiliated” by her conviction. “I betrayed the very people who entrusted [power] to me,” she said.”I was elected to uphold the law and I failed to do so myself. I deeply regret my actions and I apologize.”
In tears, she addressed her two daughters, saying, “Girls, I have let you down. I hope you forgive me.”
Boyer said her problems began in 2009, when her family suffered financial reversals. Prosecutors say she charged personal expenses to a county credit card and that she and her husband set a scheme through which more than $80,000 was paid to a family friend who was listed as a county consultant and who then returned money to the Boyers.
Federal prosecutors had recommended the 14-month term, reducing their original sentencing recommendation by two months because they said Boyer had cooperated with investigators in her case and in additional investigations.
But they argued Boyer should go to prison for betraying public trust. “The public needs to know corruption will not be tolerated,” Assistant U.S. District Attorney Jeffrey Davis said.
“You can’t be a successful county commissioner and steal from the public,” he said.
Evans agreed, saying the sentence should deter other public officials from misusing their positions.
And Acting U.S. Attorney John A. Horn said the money Boyer took “as intended to benefit and improve DeKalb County.”
“The citizens of DeKalb County deserve to be represented by honest elected officials who put the interests of the public first,” Horn said in the statement.