- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 4, 2021

ATLANTA (AP) - Former Georgia state lawmaker and university regent Dean Alford has been indicted on racketeering, fraud and forgery charges relating to allegations that he faked contracts while seeking money from a financial company.

Tuesday’s indictment in Rockdale County follows Alford‘s original arrest on the charges in October 2019. Katie Byrd, a spokesperson for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, said it took time to investigate Alford‘s acts, and the judicial system was delayed due to the pandemic.

Alford faces up to 50 years in prison. A lawyer who represented him on civil matters said he wasn’t involved in the criminal case and couldn’t comment.

When he was arrested in 2019, Alford was accused of falsely claiming that his company, Allied Energy Services, was owed $2.2 million from five entities, including the University of Georgia and Georgia Military College, a public college not run by the regents. He also allegedly claimed to be owed money from two banks and a solar energy firm.

University System of Georgia officials said the invoices were fake and that universities don’t do business with regents. Alford resigned from the board shortly thereafter.

The allegations in the indictment revolve around a common business practice known as factoring, in which a business will sell rights to future income to a lender in exchange for up-front money. The lender profits by buying the future income at a discount. Alford is accused of transmitting fraudulent documents to prove he had future accounts worth $2.2 million as part of an effort to sell them for nearly $1.7 million, the charges say.

In August, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Alford with three counts of violating the federal Securities Act, saying he fraudulently raised $23 million for Allied Energy from at least 100 investors from 2017 to 2019. Regulators said Alford used the money to build a multimillion dollar house and pay earlier investors, the classic hallmark of a Ponzi scheme. Many of the investors were Indian-Americans who live in the Columbus area. The scheme collapsed when Alford couldn’t make scheduled payments.

Alford settled the charges without admitting guilt and was ordered last month to pay $10.8 million to the investors.

Dozens of investors also sued Alford.

Alford served 10 years in the state House, later serving on the state Board of Education, the board of the Technical College System of Georgia and the Board of Regents.

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