This post has been corrected.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Middle District of Georgia has taken an unusual step, recusing itself from a seemingly routine fraud case. The wrinkle: one of the victims of the apparent fraud is the Macon-based district’s U.S. Attorney nominee.
Michael J. Moore, a Perry, Ga., defense attorney and Democratic donor, was nominated to be the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia on Sept. 17, 2009 — nearly 300 days ago. He is the longest outstanding U.S. Attorney nominee in the Obama administration. (The second longest outstanding nominee is Thomas Gray Walker for the Eastern District of North Carolina at a little more than 200 days.)
It’s unclear what has delayed Moore’s nomination. It took nine months from the date of his nomination for the Senate Judiciary Committee to receive Moore’s background questionnaire, a necessary bit of paperwork before the panel can consider a nomination. The panel received Moore’s questionnaire on June 9; most U.S. Attorney nominees file the materials a few weeks after nomination.
But some local observers have pointed to his peripheral involvement in the wire fraud case involving Logo Pro, Inc., a promotional items company based in Centerville, Ga., as a possible source of the delay.
According to court documents filed in the case, Logo Pro, Inc., owner and CEO J. Todd Smith told investors that he had secured a government contract to provide clothing and accessories to the federal government and asked investors for money up front to facilitate the performance of the contract.
But Smith never had a government contract. Instead, he used the money for personal and business expenses and to pay off other investors. According to court documents, about 30 individuals lost about $2 million in Smith’s scheme, which lasted from February 2008 through about September 2009. Smith’s attorney Donald F. Samuel confirmed that Moore was one of the victims defrauded in the scheme.
Smith pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on April 27. He is slated to be sentenced in August, Samuel said. Smith faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in the Middle District of Georgia recused itself from the case because of the connection to Moore, Samuel said. The prosecution was handed to the Northern District of Georgia and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen H. McClain, who did not respond to a request for comment.
Moore was recommended to be the U.S. Attorney by the House Democratic delegation from Georgia. Traditionally, a state’s senators make U.S. Attorney recommendations to the president. But when the senators are from different parties — as is the case in Georgia with Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson — the job of making recommendations falls to the House delegation.
Moore has given about $30,000 to Democratic candidates and causes on the federal and state level since 2002 — including $3,300 in donations to President Obama — according to a review of state and federal campaign donations.