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Lynn Haven Mayor - Who Also Lives In Jax - Arrested On Corruption, Fraud Charges

LynnHavenMayor.jpg
William Widmer for NPR
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Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson stands near the water on the north side of town following Hurricane Michael.

FBI agents arrested Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson at her Jacksonville home Wednesday.

Anderson, 65, and Lynn Haven City Attorney Joseph Adam Albritton are the subjects of a 64-count federal grand jury indictment that alleges corruption and fraud. 

Lynn Haven is a small city in Bay County, which is between Tallahassee and Pensacola, just north of Panama City.

The pair is accused of a scheme following Hurricane Michael that ultimately involved millions of dollars.

As an example, the indictment charges Albritton with demanding, and receiving, $10,000 in cash for each week of trash services billed to Lynn Haven by a Erosion Control Specialists from mid-October 2018 through January 2019. The city of Lynn Haven was ultimately billed $1.8 million for unnecessary trash pick-up, according to the indictment.

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"This case is an example of what happens when public servants becomes complicit in corrupt behavior rather than standing up to it," said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division, in an email to WJCT News.

In another example that pre-dates the hurricane, the indictment accuses Anderson and her husband of “accepting things of value,” including a $106,000 motorhome from “Company B in February 2018.”

Anderson and Albritton are accused of conspiring to commit wire fraud and honest services fraud, substantive counts of wire fraud, honest services fraud, and theft concerning federal programs. Anderson is also charged with making false statements to FBI agents. Albritton is charged with submitting a false invoice to an insurance company for hurricane debris removal from his residence.

If convicted, Anderson and Albritton both face prison terms of up to 20 years on the fraud charges and 10 years for theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Anderson could be sentenced to an additional five-year term if convicted for making false statements to federal agents, and Albritton faces a maximum of 20 years for submitting a false invoice to an insurance company.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.