A former Augusta city commissioner was sentenced Tuesday to three years in federal prison after he was convicted of destroying records and lying about it to investigators.
Sammie Lee Sias, 68, had his punishment handed down by a U.S. District Court judge nearly a year after a jury him guilty last July.
Sias was serving on the Augusta commission in 2019 when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI began investigating allegations that included Sias was misspending public money and was involved in other misconduct.
Sias deleted about 7,000 files relevant to that investigation from a laptop, according to prosecutors, and later told an FBI agent that he had turned out all records requested by authorities. Investigators later found evidence of the records Sias had deleted on the computer.
“This sentence not only will serve to deter Mr. Sias from committing any similar conduct in the future, but it will also serve to deter others in similar positions from betraying the community’s trust,” U.S. Attorney Jill E. Steinberg, the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Georgia, said in a statement.
Sias’ fellow commissioners voted to request the investigation in 2019 after a former employee who had a long-term affair with Sias accused him of misconduct, the Augusta Chronicle reported.
Judge J. Randal Hall also ordered Sias to pay a $5,000 fine and to serve three years on supervised release after he is released from prison.