SNELLVILLE, Ga. - A Gwinnett County mayor is facing charges that he used campaign funds to purchase a Caribbean cruise, airline tickets and a six-month subscription to porn sites.
Channel 2’s Tony Thomas confirmed Thursday afternoon that Snellville Mayor Tom Witts was indicted on more than 60 felony charges, including tax evasion and violation of oath by a public officer.
Witts has been the mayor of Snellville since 2015 and was a council member before that.
The investigation into his finances has been going on for several years, according to Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter. Porter said Witts lied about owing taxes when he ran for office, and it spiraled from there.
Porter personally presented the case to jurors, accusing Witts of tax evasion to the tune of $128,000 then lying on election forms claiming he didn't owe any taxes. He's also accused of using his own company to do work at City Hall and then trying to cover it up with fake invoices.
"He was paid for various projects. There are some display cases in City Hall, there were some windows done up on the second floor, there was some work done at the police department," Porter said.
Prosecutors have been investigating since a complaint was filed during the 2015 mayor's race.
When they began looking at his campaign funds, they say they found more funny business, including money spent on family vacations and subscriptions to porn sites.
"There were a number of the adult web sites that were paid for out of campaign funds," Porter said.
Among the 66 charges Witts is facing, 65 are felonies. Those include 15 counts related to tax evasion, 17 counts of theft by conversion and 19 counts of false swearing, among others.
"I don't think the number matters. It's the content," Witts told Thomas Thursday.
He said he knew he was under investigation, but seemed taken aback when Thomas informed him of the charges on the phone. He denied it all.
"We will hopefully explain everything to Danny's satisfaction," Witts said.
Witts will now have to turn himself in at the jail to be booked and released on bond.
Porter said he will give Witts a couple days since he isn't a flight risk.