FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- An Atlanta businessman pleaded guilty to bribery charges in court Wednesday.
Elvin R. Mitchell, Jr. was accused of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and money laundering.
According to a copy of a criminal complaint against him, Mitchell allegedly conspired to illegally obtain construction-related contracts beginning as early as 2010 and running through 2015. Mitchell, according to the documents, served as the owner of several construction companies in question.
The document alleges that the business owner paid more than $1 million in bribe payments to an individual in exchange for City of Atlanta contracts.
A portion of that money, the complaint said, was paid to a city official or officials who had influence over the contracting process. The document also alleges Mitchell tried to cover up his tracks afterwards.
"When a contractor bribes its way into these lucrative contracts, it destroys the public's faith and confidence, it destroys the confidence in faith in the government itself and it also costs the taxpayer substantially more money to get important critical infrastructure contracts funded," said U.S. Attorney John Horn.
Mitchell now faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Moments after pleading guilty, Mitchell's defense attorney told reporters that his client would be cooperating throughout the process.
"He has been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with the United States to make this thing right," Craig Gillen said.
Attorney Sara Becker told 11Alive's Duffie Dixon she has worked on white collar crimes like this before and said cases like this can turn out to involve people all the way at the top.
"I would anticipate the government is going to follow the evidence and follow it wherever it takes them in looking to develop other suspects, witnesses, and probably a paper trail," she said.
And while no one else has been charged in the case so far, experts said the fact that Mitchell was offered a plea deal indicates they think he has substantial information to help them build this case.
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