Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter just all upset about government fraud to get a headline; afterward, not so much

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter is all riled up about two court reporters who may have overbilled the County for transcripts that they never produced or for which they inflated the length of (meaning higher fees they could charge). Right now he still has to review about 14 hardbound notebooks full of information from a county audit completed eight months ago.

To file charges, prosecutors would have to prove that court reporters Pamela Lennard and Mike Ables intentionally inflated the length of court transcripts, thereby allowing them to bill the county for more pages. The audit found that those two court reporters had submitted bills for transcripts that unnecessarily included lengthy court calendars. Lennard and Ables also billed the county for transcripts they never filed, or double-billed for transcripts on several occasions, according to the audit.

The audit estimated that Lennard overbilled for $16,787 from November 2004 through January 2009; Ables overbilled by more than $7,700 during that time, it said.

Wow, almost $26,000.00 in potential overbilling. Don’t expect much from Porter now, though, because he also is prosecuting attorney Christopher T. Adams, Esquire (pictured at right) for over $40,000.00 in allegedly fraudulent billing to the indigent defense fund. As I detailed just a few hours ago, Adams’ case has been dormant for over 16 months since his arraignment.

Maybe Porter can learn that follow through on these types of cases is important after the attention grabbing headline is printed.

9 comments

  1. ByteMe says:

    So one reporter overbills on average by $4K and another for $2K over the course of a year, which could include 200+ days of court reporting? And this is something for the DA??

    Not. Much ado about nothing. Get them to pay it back and move on. No reason to add more legal fees to the problem.

  2. BobG says:

    Criminal charges may be the only leverage available to the county to recoup the stolen funds.

    I support any elected official’s efforts to protect the people’s money from waste and misuse. I fail to understand why ANYBODY would criticize that.

    Regarding Adams, it doesn’t surprise nor concern me that it has taken a year to get from arrest to trial. First, a year or more on the court docket is probably not that unusual considering Gwinnett’s caseload, and especially when the crime is non-violent and the defendant out on bail, and also an attorney who is knowledgeable of ways to postpone the inevitable. If you look closely, you might find that the delay is not all the fault of the state.

    Second, I am sure that Adams is no longer receiving public funds, so he is not a threat to the people’s money. And, finally, it is likely that the State Bar could take action against Adams absent a conviction. It isn’t Danny Porter’s fault that Adams is still practicing law if, indeed, the crimes of which he is accused should result in his suspension or disbarment.

    But, then, maybe you just don’t like Danny Porter. In that case, nothing that I just wrote will make a difference.

    • I’m not prepared to “defend” the two court reporters, but I would still need to see a lot more information than we have here to characterize anything as “stolen”. All we have here is that they transcribed unnecessary information (i.e. court calendars). Were there written guidelines on what information to leave out of transcripts? Was it a subjective judgment call? Did judges or any other supervisors see the transcripts over the years and acquiesce by silence? Maybe there’s actual issue here and maybe there isn’t, but there’s not enough information in the article to say for sure in a way that’s remotely fair.

      Your point about Adams is dead-on, however. I believe that Pete has said in the past that worked (or currently works?) as a prosecutor. If so, he knows good and damn well that the timeline here isn’t surprising under the circumstances.

Comments are closed.