D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Former D'Iberville City Manager Michael Janus has been all over the news lately after pleading guilty to defrauding the City of D'Iberville out of thousands. This week, he was sentenced to 21 months behind bars.
Former D'Iberville City Manager Michael Janus has less than two months to get his affairs in order before he reports to jail. Janus was found guilty in federal court for fraudulently obtaining a finder's fee for a company he co-owns with businessman Scott Walker. He says learning his fate was difficult.
"It did hit hard obviously, but it's something that I know I'm ready to face it. Folks have asked, 'Do you think the judge was fair?' And I say, yes I do. I do agree with the judge. Public servants should be held to a higher standard."
According to prosecutors, the $180,000 finder's fee was paid by the city for helping D'Iberville obtain a $3 million Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality grant. Janus says during all this he had no criminal intent.
"As I mentioned the mistakes that I made were probably my naivete on relying on other people, other professionals in the legal profession to give me advice. Whether it was the city attorney or other attorneys, everything I did I certainly vetted by other people. It wasn't Michael Janus in the back room plotting and scheming by any stretch," Janus explained.
Janus told WLOX News. If he had to do it all over again he would do a better job of documenting his actions.
"Unfortunately, I relied a lot on text messages. I relied on the fact that other individuals that I work with day to day would give me accurate information and at the end of the day they would back up that information and I just wouldn't be so naive with others.
He also went on to say though he has been convicted of a crime he doesn't feel like a criminal but he's accepting the punishment associated with his wrongdoing.
And while his career in public office is over, he says does have plans for the future.
"I've been involved numerous nonprofit organizations hopefully at some point they will allow me to come back and work with them and help grow the community," said Janus.
Janus's business partner Scott Walker will be sentenced on July 23. He has pled guilty to a charge of fraud in connection with that $180,000 finder's fee and a charge of conspiracy connected to the sale of property he and his father owned to The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.
On Monday, his father former DMR Director Dr. Bill Walker was sentenced to five years for his role in that scheme.
You can watch Doug Walker's full interview with Michael Janus on WLOX News This Week this Sunday at 8:30 a.m.