The former executive director of the Camden County Public Service Authority has admitted misappropriating funds intended for payment of employees’ federal payroll taxes.
Willliam Brunson, 52, of Kingsland, Ga., entered a guilty plea to one count of Tax Evasion in U.S. District Court in Brunswick, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, along with fines, restitution and supervised release upon completion of any prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Public employees in high places raking ill-gotten gains into their own pockets from taxpayers creates public distrust,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “William Brunson’s greed destroyed a lot of goodwill, and fuels the cynicism and distrust that unfairly stains public service all too often.”
According to court documents and testimony, Brunson was responsible for paying over to the Internal Revenue Service employment taxes on behalf of the Public Service Authority (PSA). Federal taxes were withheld from employees’ paychecks from 2014 to 2016, but Brunson failed to remit more than $677,000 that was due to the IRS. In addition to not filing his personal tax returns during that period, Brunson also used a Camden County PSA credit card and other funds for his personal use, including the purchase of antique cars and car parts.
Brunson was terminated from the PSA in May 2018 after an audit of PSA finances and an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).
“Corruption involving public officials will not be tolerated in the state of Georgia,” said Vic Reynolds, Director of the GBI. “It is essential that violators like Brunson be held accountable for these types of crimes. The GBI is fully committed to working with our federal partners to conduct public corruption investigations.”
“Brunson betrayed the public’s trust for personal gain. Instead of helping the community, Brunson was enriching himself at the expense of the taxpayers whom he was to serve. As a result of his greed, he must now be held accountable for his crimes in order to restore public trust,” said Thomas J. Holloman III, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. “IRS-CI will continue to leverage its skilled workforce in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to eradicate public corruption by recommending prosecution of any government employee involved in criminal activity under the guise of serving the public.”
“In our mission to protect U.S. citizens, nothing is more disturbing than when public officials abuse their positions by stealing from the taxpayers they serve,” said Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Chris Hacker. “Hopefully, holding Brunson accountable for his greed, will help regain the public’s trust that was eroded by his actions.”
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and the GBI, and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.