Joint Sheriff-GBI investigation results in three arrests for fraud, bribery

Jaime Hernandez-Alzate, Janna Renee Mauldin and Juan Lopez-Alzate.

According to Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston, on Thursday, May 25, Gordon County Tax Commissioner Scott Clements notified the Sheriff’s Office of discrepancies in the issuance of automobile titles and tags within his Office.

Tax Commissioner Clements immediately terminated a clerk and provided detailed information to the Sheriff’s Office that same day. The Sheriff’s Office and the local Region 1 Georgia Bureau of Investigation then initiated an investigation which spanned several days.

On Friday morning, May 26, GBI agents and Sheriff’s detectives arrested Juan Lopez-Alzate, age 26, who gave his address as Atlanta, Georgia after he appeared at the Tax Office to acquire what agents and detectives believe to be fraudulent vehicle registration documents. Lopez-Alzate was jailed and later that same day, the agents and detectives arrested Jaime Hernandez-Alzate, age 35, who gave his address as 2842 Callahan Highway, Marietta, Georgia, after he, too, arrived at the Tag Office to acquire fraudulent registration documents.

Both Lopez-Alzate and Hernandez-Alzate have each been charged with 50 counts of Computer Document Fraud, 50 counts of False Statements Registering Motor Vehicles, and Bribery of a Public Official. Both Lopez-Alzate and Hernandez-Alzate are believed to be Colombian nationals, and are being held pending judicial proceedings.

On Thursday morning, June 1, Janna Renee Mauldin, age 40, of 350 Bud Hardy Road, turned herself in to deputy sheriffs at the Sheriff’s Office and was booked on charges of Computer Forgery and Bribery. She has appeared in court and was released upon her own recognizance.

A number of search warrants have been executed in this investigation resulting in the discovery and seizure of fraudulent automobile titles and registrations, U.S. currency, and electronic devices as evidence. GBI agents, Sheriff’s detectives, and special agents from the Georgia Department of Revenue are continuing their investigation focusing on other jurisdictions and individuals which may have been involved. Although at least one additional arrest is expected, agents and detectives do not expect the arrest of any other local individuals, and have found no evidence that anyone else in the Tax Office was involved or even was aware of any wrongdoing.

Sheriff Ralston said, “This is a developing investigation, and the GBI and Revenue agents along with Sheriff’s detectives are continuing to follow productive leads. I commend Tax Commissioner Scott Clements for his diligence in uncovering the facts which led to these arrests, and the manner in which he rapidly dealt with this issue in notifying my Office. The quickness with which Tax Commissioner Clements acted allowed us not only to identify the employee involved, but also facilitated the arrest of the co-defendants from metro-Atlanta.”