SAVANNAH — A former member of the Georgia Board of Regents has agreed to settle civil charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that he swindled investors in his energy development company out of $23 million.
A consent agreement signed by Dean Alford of Conyers was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on Thursday, the same day the SEC filed a civil complaint that accused Alford of using bogus financial statements to persuade 100 investors to buy millions worth of promissory notes in anticipation of high returns.
The company, Allied Energy Services LLC, was actually struggling financially and is now bankrupt, the SEC said in court filings. Alford never put his investors’ money into energy projects, the SEC said, and Alford funneled roughly $5.7 million of the money into his private bank account.
He used some of the cash to make payments toward a multimillion-dollar home in Utah, to buy a car and to cover credit card debt, the court complaint said. He also used some of the cash to pay interest owed to investors until the scheme collapsed in 2019 after going on for roughly two years.
“He gave investors the false impression that the investment opportunities that he offered purportedly through Allied would be lucrative,” the SEC’s complaint said. “Contrary to such representations, (Alford) knowingly used investor funds to pay personal expenses.”
The consent agreement Alford signed says he will agree to civil penalties to be imposed later by a judge. It also states Alford neither admits nor denies the SEC’s allegations.
The deal doesn’t affect other civil or criminal cases against Alford. Some investors have lawsuits pending against him in federal court, and he was arrested last year on state charges of racketeering and theft. Katie Byrd, a spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, said Friday the state’s case remains active.
Alford’s attorney, Walter Jospin, declined to comment Friday when reached by email.
The SEC said Alford wooed investors with fake documents such as a balance sheet claiming his company had $162 million in total assets and generated total revenues of $40.5 million in 2018. In reality, the SEC said, Allied’s tax returns showed the company had less than $1 million in assets and its 2018 receipts totaled less than $435,000.
Investors bought promissory notes from Alford at values of $25,000 to $825,000 apiece, the court complaint said, with rates of return ranging from 12% to 34%.
The SEC said Alford used money from newer investors to make interest payments to those who invested in the company previously, until he started missing interest payments in April 2019. Soon after, he failed to repay investors’ principal. Then state authorities arrested him last October.
Alford’s background in state government stretched back much further. He served five terms in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1983 to 1993 as a Democrat, but later gravitated toward Republicans. He later served on the state Board of Education and chaired the board of the Technical College System of Georgia.
After the first two weeks of early voting for the Republican primary runoff election, 1,942 people have cast their votes at the Floyd County Administration Building.
Poll workers have been taking precautions with voters coming into the community room on the second floor.
They’ve been offering hand sanitizer and masks to people at the door and wiping down the equipment after each use. So far, according to Floyd County Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady, things have been going smoothly without any equipment failures.
Weekend voting will take place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the administration building as well. This is the only day for weekend voting before early voting ends on Aug. 7.
While some people are opting to vote in person, 5,271 people were issued absentee ballots and almost 3,000 ballots have already been processed by the elections office.
Voters can mail in their ballots or use one of the two ballot drop boxes at the Rome-Floyd County Library at 205 Riverside Parkway or in front of the elections office at 12 E. Fourth Ave.
The boxes are usually emptied every three days, but during the last week of early voting, they’ll be emptied every 24 hours.
On election day, Aug. 11, elections office staff will begin tallying absentee ballots at 9 a.m. instead of waiting until after the polls close like they did on June 9.
All 23 county voting precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. Brady believes this election will go a lot more smoothly than the June 9 primary election. Last weekend, poll workers went through a two-hour training course to address the issues of the last election.
“There’s going to be another set of training for the managers and assistant managers and the primary thing we’ll talk about is all the things that go into opening and running the precinct,” he said.
So far, there has been an 8.14% voter turnout for the runoff election, according to Brady. For the general primary, the turnout was around 37%.
“People need to remember that the runoff is important also,” he said.
With no Democratic opposition in the Floyd County sheriff’s race, the Republican primary will determine if Tom Caldwell or Dave Roberson will take the office after Sheriff Tim Burkhalter retires in December.
The runoff will also determine if Marjorie Greene or Dr. John Cowan will be the Republican candidate for the U.S. House 14th Congressional District. All registered voters, except those who voted in the Democratic primary, are eligible to vote in the runoff.
For more information concerning the runoff election, email Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the elections office at 706-291-5167.