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Southwest Georgia D.A. commits suicide amid federal audit

Former D. A. Plez Hardin took his life Sunday April 9, in Sumter County, GA near Americus.

WALB reports that Hardin was currently under an investigation by the federal government and the Southwestern Judicial Circut in Georgia is under an audit and some money cannot be accounted for.

Lewis Lamb is the acting District Attorney said he would give his full cooperation with the audit investigation.

Lamb released a statement to the press on Hardin and the audits:

I, Lewis Lamb, the Acting District Attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit, have confirmed that deceased District Attorney Plez Hardin was the subject of a federal investigation related to financial and tax improprieties. I became aware of that investigation shortly before Mr. Hardin’s death. 

Following his death on April 9th, I met with federal authorities concerning the matter.  My immediate concern was whether anyone else may have been complicit in the wrongdoing. My understanding is that Mr. Hardin, not the District Attorney’s Office, was the subject of the investigation. No one else in this office had administrative access or control over the D.A.’s accounts at that time.

As a result of this investigation, and based on my assumption of authority pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-18-16, I have asked all six counties of the Southwestern Judicial Circuit to participate in an audit of the finances of the District Attorney’s Office. I want the process to be open and to have the participation of every county this office serves. An independent audit will help us learn whether anyone else may have been involved at any time, as well as the full extent of the losses.

A brief examination of the accounts of the District Attorney’s Office has revealed that there are, in fact, missing funds. The total losses are not known at this time.  I have consulted with the GBI concerning the matter.  Once the audit is completed, the results will be turned over to the GBI and an independent prosecutor to proceed with further investigation if needed.

No one currently in the District Attorney’s Office had any administrative control or access to the office finances. The most important thing to me right now is to preserve the integrity and credibility of the District Attorney’s Office.  This office will be transparent and accountable, so long as I have any control over the process. We have implemented meaningful fiscal controls over the District Attorney’s funds, and we will provide financial information and reconciled books to every county in the Circuit on a regular basis.

I will be available for questions at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 18th, at the District Attorney’s Office.

Jeremy Spencer grew up in rural South Georgia and has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, school administrator, and state education official. Jeremy is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus is local news, statewide education issues, and statewide political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as an education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns. Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. Jeremy has lived in Camden County for over 17 years.

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