Former GDOT Employees Indicted For Using State Money To Buy Luxury Vehicle Parts
DEKALB COUNTY – Former Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) employees Oscar Cooke of Riverdale, and Roosevelt Addie of Jonesboro, along with NAPA Auto Parts employee Openzender Tanner, have been indicted by a DeKalb County grand jury for the misuse of their state-issued purchasing card (P-Card).
From 2015 to 2017, Addie and Cooke, who worked as mechanics at the GDOT District 7 maintenance shop in Avondale, allegedly utilized their state-issued P-Cards to make fraudulent purchases at NAPA Auto Parts, a merchant under an exclusive contract with the State of Georgia. Addie, a manager, and Cooke, a warehouse supervisor, were linked to approximately 55 different transactions totaling $18,432.79.
Addie and Cooke claimed the purchases were made for GDOT vehicle maintenance, however, an audit revealed that the purchased parts were actually designed for various premium vehicles, such as those made by Ferrari, Cadillac, Hummer, Bentley, Porsche, and Lexus. Addie and Cooke colluded with Openzender Tanner, a NAPA employee, who helped conceal the scheme by creating and altering billing data contained in the NAPA Auto Parts computer network in such a manner to cause invoices to reveal different automotive parts than what were actually purchased. The purchased parts included alternators, electric fuel pumps, batteries, nitrous oxide kits, and tires.
“State employees are regularly entrusted with the safeguarding of state assets,” said State Inspector General Scott McAfee. “When that trust is violated for personal gain, it not only hurts the State but all Georgia citizens. It is the mission of this office to bring all those who violate this trust to justice.”
On June 1, 2021, Oscar Cooke and Roosevelt Addie were indicted for one count of Theft by Taking and one count of Unlawful Use of State Funds to Obtain Items of Value for Personal Benefits. Openzender Tanner was indicted for one count of Computer Forgery. Members of the public are reminded that the indictments only contain charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The case was initially referred to the Office of the State Inspector General (OIG) by GDOT. OIG and GDOT jointly investigated the matter. OIG Investigators Richard Schneider, Jonelle Vernon (former), OIG Auditor Cedric Johnson, and GDOT Investigator Keith Lewis (former) led the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.
For further information, please contact the Office of the State Inspector General at [email protected].