ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown was indicted by a Fulton County Grand Jury, and charged for alleged attempts to defraud financial institutions.
“For years, Antonio Brown allegedly sought to defraud a number of banks and credit card companies by falsely claiming that he was the victim of identity theft,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak in a release Wednesday.
Attorney Pak alleges Brown took out multiple loans, made several credit card purchases, and then claimed to be the victim of identity fraud to avoid repayment. He is charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements on a bank application.
Brown, 35, was elected as District 3's councilman in 2019 following the death of longtime councilman Ivory Young. His biography states that he adds an inspirational work ethic to the community. He was also awarded a “Notable Citizen of Georgia Proclamation.”
"Growing up in poverty with his parents frequently incarcerated, Antonio discovered he had the resilience and drive to overcome adversity & achieve success," reads the biography in part.
Dating back to 2012, Attorney Pak details how Brown obtained more $60,000 in auto loans to finance the purchase of a Mercedes C300 and Range Rover, and spent thousands in credit for her personal benefit.
The indictment also alleges Brown provided false income and asset information when applying for a $75,000 Signature Bank loan in 2017.
“We are committed to working with our Federal law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those who falsely claim their identity was stolen in an attempt to defraud financial institutions,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General of Social Security. “I thank the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and IRS Criminal Investigation for their efforts in this case, and the United States Attorney’s Office for bringing these charges.”
All alleged crimes took place prior to Brown being elected to Atlanta City Council.
City Council President Felicia Moore issued the following statement regarding Brown's indictment:
“As the public has been made aware, Council member Antonio Brown has recently been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on multiple charges unrelated to his service on the Atlanta City Council. At this time, no vacancy on Council exists as a result of this occurrence. A vacancy would only exist in the event of a resignation, conviction, or state-level suspension.
Per the U.S. Attorney's Office (Northern District of Georgia), please be reminded that the indictment only contains charges and the defendant is presumed innocent until otherwise proven at trial. This is a personal matter to be addressed by Mr. Brown as he undergoes due process of the law.”
Those in his district are also not jumping the gun to point a finger of guilt.
"It's important to remember that he's innocent before we rush to judgement on that, and that it's separate from the work that he's done," said Sarah Vanegas who lives in District 3.
Brown's lawyer, Thomas D. Bever of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, told CBS46 reporter Jamie Kennedy "he will be entering a not guilty plea, and looks forward to his day in court to clear his name."
Though the people he represents are not condemning him straight away, they also are not dismissing the charges.
"Would I give him my wallet to hold, probably not. So is he the most trust worthy person, probably not," said Sarah. "But you know, I think he has done some decent things for the city,."