MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A jury finds Grant Administrator Janey Galbraith guilty on all five guilty on five counts of defrauding the government and trying to cover it up in Bayou La Batre
Prosecutors said they are pleased with the verdict while Galbraith's attorneys vow to fight the conviction.
Janey Galbraith leaves the federal courthouse in Mobile moments after the guilty verdict was returned.
"It was a long effort, and we believe the citizens of Bayou La Batre have been vindicated," said Assistant U.S. Attorney George May.
May said after Hurricane Katrina, millions of dollars in grant money poured into Bayou La Batre meant to help its residents.
Gailbraith managed the grants for a fee of a million dollars each.
She was convicted of altering federal documents to pass an audit, and conspiring with Bayou La Batre Mayor Stan Wright to defraud the government out of FEMA dollars.
Prosecutors said Mayor Wright gave his daughter, Mary Cook, a piece of property and then Cook sold the property to the city for a fee of $27,000 paid for by FEMA money.
Cook then wrote her father a series of checks.
"We will continue to prosecute cases of political corruption and misuse of federal money. In this case, where you have a natural disaster where victims are out of their homes and that money is critical to get to those victims, anyone that siphon that off for their own personal benefit; yes, we will look at you for prosecution," May said.
Galbraith's attorney Vince Kilborn said he was disappointed with the decision, but still believes in his client's innocence.
"Obviously, she is disappointed, but Janey is a strong lady. And, she obviously believes in her own innocence and I do, too," said Kilborn.
Kilborn said he will file pretrial motions for the judge to reconsider the conviction.
The charge against one of Galbraith's co-defendants, Mary Cook, was tossed out.
U.S. District Court Judge Kristi Dubose ruled there was a lack of evidence to support the conspiracy charge against Cook.
Prosecutors would not comment on Mayor Wright's pending case.
But, the FBI did thank the people of Bayou La Batre for their help in the investigation.
"It is a very tight knit community, and it was hard for them to come forward," said FBI Special Agent George Carr. "We greatly appreciate their help in this endeavor."
U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown was there for the verdict and said he is pleased with the decision, too.
Galbraith's sentencing is set for September. She faces 12 to 18 months in prison.
At that time the judge will decide if Galbraith must pay back the $27,000 Mary Cook received for the land purchase.
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