Acting D.A. confirms federal investigation of Hardin

Published 2:02 pm Thursday, April 19, 2018

By Beth Alston

AMERICUS — Lewis Lamb, Acting District Attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit, issued a press release Tuesday afternoon. In the release, Lamb confirms that District Attorney Plez Hardin, who committed suicide on April 9, was the subject of a federal investigation related to financial and tax improprieties. Lamb says in the release that he became aware of that investigation shortly before Hardin’s death.
Following Hardin’s death, Lamb met with federal authorities. He said his immediate concern was whether anyone else may have been complicit in the wrongdoing. In his release, he says it’s his understanding that 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,” Lamb says in the release.
“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,” Lamb writes in this release. “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.”
Lamb goes on to say that 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.” He adds that he has consulted with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and once the audit is complete, results will be turned over to the GBI and an independent prosecutor to proceed with further investigation, if necessary.
Lamb’s release continues, “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.”