Former City of Atlanta employee Mitzi Bickers sentenced on federal bribery charges

·2 min read

Former City of Atlanta Director of Human Services Mitzi Bickers has been sentenced to federal prison.

Bickers, 57, was accused of accepting more than $2,000,000 in bribes in exchange for steering nearly $20 million in city contracts to local businessmen. She was found guilty on nine counts of money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy back in March.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was outside of the federal courthouse as Bickers walked out hand-in-hand with her wife after a judge sentenced her to 14 years in prison and to pay nearly $3,000,000 in restitution to the City of Atlanta.

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Elliot saw no sign of the ankle monitor the judge ordered her to wear until she surrenders to prison herself.

U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan said Bickers essentially robbed the City of Atlanta.

“Bickers led a scheme and robbed the citizens of the honest government that is a central requirement for municipal government,” Buchanan said.

As she entered the federal courthouse, Elliot asked Bickers if she would ask the judge for leniency.

While she did not answer Elliot, she did ask the judge for a lighter sentence.

“There have been moments of bitterness and anger, and there have been moments of time that, if I didn’t have the Lord on my side, I could’ve gone crazy,” Bickers tearfully said during the hearing.

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Buchanan says he hopes that seeing Bickers sentenced will serve as a message to other government officials considering a similar path.

“The citizens of Atlanta deserve honest government, not a government that awards millions of dollars in contracts based on bribes bought and accepted by a corrupt city official,” he said after the sentence came down.

Bickers’ case was the first to go before a jury in the nearly decade-long corruption investigation of Atlanta city government.

She was acquitted on bribery allegations related to some activities in Jackson, Mississippi, and bribery-related allegations concerning millions of dollars in contracts in Atlanta after she left her position with the city in 2013. She was also acquitted of tampering with a witness.

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The judge also ordered Bickers to surrender her lake home, a GMC Acadia Denali and four Yamaha jet skis because she purchased them with funds from the bribery.