Former executive gets 5 years in prison for bribing officials in Atlanta and neighboring county
Jul 19, 2023, 10:45 AM
ATLANTA (AP) — A former executive for a longtime city of Atlanta vendor was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for paying bribes in exchange for millions of dollars in city contracts and to paying bribes to an official in a neighboring county in an attempt to get business there.
Lohrasb “Jeff” Jafari, 72, pleaded guilty in April to paying bribes to Atlanta and DeKalb County officials and failing to pay more than $1.5 million in taxes. The charges against him stemmed from a federal investigation into corruption during former Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration that led to the indictment of several former city officials and contractors. Reed himself was never charged.
“The public paid a heavy price from every project unfairly awarded to Jafari’s companies through corruption, and he then compounded his harm by never paying any tax on his substantial personal income,” U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan said in a news release. “His greed delivered a hard blow to public trust in honest and fair government, but this sentence underscores our commitment to prosecuting corruption in any form.”
Jafari was the executive vice president of PRAD Group, which provided architectural, design and engineering services for Atlanta and DeKalb County, prosecutors said.
Jafari gave cash and other items to Adam Smith, who served as Atlanta’s chief procurement officer from January 2003 to February 2017, and to Jo Ann Macrina, who was commissioner of the city Department of Watershed Management from April 2011 to May 2016, prosecutors said. In exchange, they ensured that PRAD Group obtained lucrative city contracts.
From 2014 to January 2017, Jafari paid Smith more than $40,000 in cash and then tried to get him to lie about it when he caught wind of the federal investigation, prosecutors said. Jafari promised Macrina a job with PRAD Group, gave her cash, jewelry and paid for landscaping work at her home as well as a luxury hotel room and shopping trip in Dubai, prosecutors said.
Smith sentenced her to 4 1/2 years in prison.
In April and August 2014, the FBI used a confidential source who was a high-ranking DeKalb County official to conduct undercover operations. Jafari sough the person’s help to get work in the county and paid the person between $1,000 and $1,500 in cash, prosecutors said.
Jafari failed to file personal tax returns and didn’t pay any income tax to the IRS from 2014 to 2016, prosecutors said. During that time, he took out large sums from corporate accounts to pay for personal expenses.