John Fanning, 34, of Dacula, son of former Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Lasseter, was sentenced to 57 months in prison Tuesday (Sept. 18) in U.S. District Court in Atlanta for bribery and drug trafficking.
Carl “Skip" Cain, 66, of Flowery Branch, also received a sentence of 57 months on the same charges.
Both prison sentences are without parole.
U.S. District Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr. followed the sentencing recommendations of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta, based on the defendants' cooperation in an ongoing investigation of corruption in Gwinnett County government. Fanning and Cain each could have received sentences of 70 to 87 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
Fines from $10,000 to $100,000 for each man were waived by the judge due to their inability to pay.
Lasseter, 64, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison without parole in the same court on Sept. 5 for accepting bribes.
Lasseter pleaded guilty May 31 to accepting $36,500 in bribes during 2011 from an FBI agent posing as a South Florida real estate developer to support a proposed development in her district. Lasseter resigned from her District 1 seat on the Gwinnett County Commission that day. She represented Duluth, Suwanee and Sugar Hill on the commission.
Lasseter and Fanning allegedly also accepted $30,000 in casino gambling chips in 2009 from developer Mark Gary for her favorable vote on a proposed waste transfer station in Gwinnett. Although the commission approved the project, it was never built. Gary, 39, of Duluth, was arraigned Sept. 5 on a federal bribery charge, waived indictment and is expected to plead guilty at a later date. He was released on bond.
Fanning and Cain pleaded guilty May 31 to participating in the bribery scheme and to drug trafficking. Their sentencing had been delayed from Aug. 6 to Sept. 5 and then until Sept. 18.
Cain acted as a “bagman” for Lasseter and Fanning, arranging the bribes and setting up meetings where the payments were made. Fanning and Cain each laundered $10,000 in purported drug money and also acted as drug couriers for what they believed was cocaine in a FBI sting operation.
Fanning’s attorney William Thomas Jr. asked for a reduced sentence of 48 months.
P. Bruce Kirwan, Cain's attorney, and Thomas said their clients were experiencing financial difficulties, leading to their involvements in the crimes.
Fanning and Cain could each have received a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the federal bribery charges. They each faced a mandatory minimum five-year sentence for drug trafficking. The maximum sentence for drug trafficking is 40 years and a fine of $5 million.
Judge Pannell recommended that both men be incarcerated in facilities close to Atlanta for the convenience of their families. They remain out on bond and will report to prison in four to six weeks. Thomas, Fanning's attorney, requested that Fanning be placed in a prison in Montgomery, Ala. The judge recommended at the request of Thomas that Fanning be considered for an alcohol and drug treatment program.