MONTGOMERY, AL—Leland J. “Sonny” McDowell, 57, of Grovetown, Georgia, and James E. Potts, 56, of Montgomery, Alabama, were arraigned June 15, 2012 on a four-count indictment alleging bribery in relation to a program receiving federal funds, announced U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr.
James Potts was a State of Alabama Department of Public Safety employee. His job with State of Alabama Department of Public Safety included helping the State of Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) solicit for bids on an Electronic Criminal History Check System, otherwise known as a fingerprint system. Sonny McDowell worked for Southern Detention Technologies, Inc., a fingerprint machine company. The indictment alleges that on or about July 2, 2007, Sonny McDowell offered and Potts agreed to accept both a check valued in excess of $1,700 and $1.00 for every fingerprint scan run that was related to DHR Electronic Criminal History Check System.
“Contracts with the state of Alabama should be won fairly, not because of a bribe,” said U.S. Attorney Beck. “When someone wins a contract because of a bribe, it corrupts the entire system. My office will not stand by and let that happen in this district or in this state. We will continue to vigorously prosecute those who corrupt a fair contract bidding system.”
If convicted, the defendants face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Brent Woodall.