Former High-Ranking Gwinnett Deputy Begins Jail Sentence

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A former Gwinnett County Sheriff's major has turned himself in after a judge sentenced him to two years in prison on Friday.

Nick Neal was convicted on convicted on eight counts of corruption, including seven felonies, in a trial that brought Gwinnett political heavyweights to the witness stand.

Nick Neal was also acquitted on six other counts, including a charge he lied to a GBI agent about who really owned a wrecker service. It's against the law for a deputy to own a towing company. Neal claimed the company was in his wife's name.

The guilty verdicts largely involve the sale of expensive, experimental braking systems to Gwinnett County through a company Neal co-owned. It's against the law for a county employee to do business with Gwinnett County.

District Attorney Danny Porter argued Neal used his political connections with former chairmen Charles Bannister and Shirley Lasseter to make the sale.

The guilty verdicts involve a maximum of 36 years in prison.

At Neal's sentencing on Friday he openly apologized to the court and begged the judge not to send him to jail.

"We want the people's tax dollars to be spent beyond and above reproach and that's what that law's all about," said Chief Judge Melodie Snell-Conner. "The law that you swore to uphold and you broke it."

In addition to two years in jail, the judge also sentenced Neal to another eight years of probation. He was told he must turn himself in to the Gwinnett County jail Monday morning at 7:30.