A pastor, political operative and former high-ranking Atlanta city official was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison after a jury found her guilty of charges stemming from a long-running federal investigation into corruption at City Hall.
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones told Mitzi Bickers that the evidence showed that she was involved in “a deliberate, calculated plan to cheat” the taxpayers of Atlanta over a number of years. In addition to the prison time, he ordered Bickers to pay nearly $3 million in restitution to the city and to serve three years of supervised release once she’s out.
Bickers, 56, was the first person to go to trial in the investigation into corruption during the administration of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. She helped Reed win election and then worked as his director of human services for several years. Prosecutors said she used her influence to funnel roughly $17 million in business to city contractors Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr. and Charles P. Richards Jr. in exchange for more than $2.9 million in bribes for herself and others.
A jury in March found Bickers guilty on charges including money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery.
Prosecutors had asked Jones to sentence Bickers to serve 17 and a half years in prison. Her lawyers asked for a much lower sentence, pointing to the five years that Mitchell got and the two years Richards got.