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Former Cumming Police sergeant convicted of accepting bribes
VanBuren also convicted of computer fraud
Nathan VanBuren
Nathan VanBuren

A former police sergeant for the Cumming Police Department was recently convicted in federal court of accepting bribes and computer fraud in exchange for “providing sensitive law enforcement information” while at the department.

On Thursday, a federal jury in Atlanta found Nathan VanBuren, 35, of Cumming, guilty of accepting at least $6,000 after 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,” according to a Department of Justice press release.

“In truth, VanBuren’s salary was not being garnished and his son was neither ill nor had surgery,” the release said. “The citizen felt threatened and reported VanBuren’s actions to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s [Office] and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement. While cooperating with law enforcement, the citizen provided VanBuren $5,000 in response to VanBuren’s repeated requests for money. During that meeting, the citizen asked whether VanBuren would search a sensitive police database to determine whether an individual was an undercover police officer. Ultimately, in exchange for $1,000, VanBuren unlawfully accessed a law enforcement database and provided the results of that search to the citizen.”

The release added VanBuren first came into contact with the person in July 2015 after responding “to a 911 call at a citizen’s home in Cumming, Georgia.”

“The citizen was arrested [at that time]. In July and August 2015, VanBuren and the citizen had additional communications,” the release said, during which VanBuren requested the money.

The trial ran from Monday, Oct. 23 to Thursday, Oct. 26, with the jury deliberating for about an hour and 45 minutes before finding VanBuren guilty, according to Cumming Police Deputy Chief Aletha Barrett, spokeswoman for the department.

Barrett said VanBuren worked for the Cumming Police Department from August 2008 to September 2015, when he resigned after being put on administrative leave following an investigation into the incident.

“We were in federal court last week, along with FBI agents [and others,]” Barrett said. “[VanBuren] was convicted by a jury on Thursday and we are waiting on a sentence from the federal court judge, sentence at a later date. Prosecution will contact the Cumming Police Department when sentencing occurs.”