Updated June 1
Shirley Lasseter, whose Gwinnett Board of Commissioners District 1 included Suwanee and Duluth, has pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe, federal authorities confirmed Thursday.
Lasseter's sentencing is set for Aug. 6, and she faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine up to a $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta.
The Duluth resident resigned her Gwinnett office Thursday. She accepted $36,500 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a South Florida real estate developer, authorities said. The bribe concerned her support for a proposed development on Boggs Road.
Lasseter is the third Gwinnett commissioner in less than two years to resign from office amid accusations of wrongdoing. Charles Bannister and Kevin Kenerly resigned in 2010 in the wake of a grand jury investigation of dubious land deals.
Lasseter, a former mayor of Duluth, said earlier this year that she would not seek re-election to the Board of Commissioners.
Also implicated in the bribery scheme were Lasseter's son, John Fanning, and businessman Carl "Skip" Cain of Flowery Branch. Fanning and Cain pleaded guilty to participating in the bribery scheme and to drug trafficking.
During this time, Lasseter's son, John Fanning, was an appointed member of the Gwinnett Zoning Board of Appeals -- appointed by his mother. The appointment came when the Gwinnett commission had no chairman -- Charles Bannister resigned in October 2010, and Charlotte Nash took office in March 2012
All three have been released on $10,000 signature bonds.
Lasseter sold [the influence of] her office and “betrayed the citizens who voted for her,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Yates during a press conference announcing the guilty pleas Thursday at the Richard Russell Building in Atlanta. “Today’s guilty pleas are part of an ongoing effort to root out public corruption in Gwinnett County,” she said.
In September, the federal complaint said, Fanning and Cain flew to the New York area to assist in collecting what they thought would be a multiple-kilogram shipment of cocaine. They spent the night in New York and flew back with "four kilograms of purported cocaine," and Fanning and Cain each took possession of two kilograms of the substance so they could deliver it to a prospective buyer, the complaint said.
Fanning and Cain also face 10 years each in prison and fines of up to $250,000 after pleading guilty to the bribery charge. They face mandatory terms of five years each based on their guilty plea for drug trafficking.