Georgia Police Sergeant Gets Jail Time For Accepting Bribes and Committing Fraud

Nathan VanBuren

Georgia – A former police sergeant with the Cumming Police Department has been sentenced to more than a year in federal prison for accepting bribes and unlawfully accessing a confidential law enforcement database while an employee at the department.

On Thursday, Nathan VanBuren, 35, of Cumming was sentenced to one year and six months in prison, and two years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Orinda D. Evans after being convicted of honest services wire fraud and computer fraud at a jury trial in October 2017, according to a Department of Justice news release.

“VanBuren violated his oath of office and broke the laws he swore to uphold and enforce,” stated U. S. Attorney Byung J. Pak in the release. “His crimes undermine the hard work of his fellow officers, as well as the community’s trust and respect for police officers.”

The release states that in July and August 2015, VanBuren accepted at least $6,000 when he “asked [a] citizen for a loan under the guise that his wages were being garnished and he had incurred financial debt due to his son’s medical and surgical expenses … In reality, VanBuren’s salary was not being garnished and his son was not ill.”

The citizen reported VanBuren’s actions to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, the release states.

“While cooperating with law enforcement, the citizen met with and provided VanBuren with $5,000 in response to VanBuren’s repeated requests for money,” stated the release. “During that meeting, the citizen asked VanBuren to search a sensitive police database to determine whether an individual was an undercover police officer. “

In exchange for $1,000, VanBuren unlawfully accessed that sensitive police database and provided information from it to the citizen.

According to Cumming Police Deputy Chief Aletha Barrett, VanBuren was employed at the Cumming Police Department from August 2008 to September 2015, and resigned after being put on administrative leave following an investigation into the incident.

In the release, Cumming Police Chief Casey Tatum said that VanBuren “betrayed the public trust and the trust of the hard working men and women of this agency.”

“Anytime a law enforcement officer uses their position to victimize someone, justice demands they be held accountable,” Tatum said.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and assisted by the Cumming Police Department and Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.