Attorney General Jim Hood Files RICO Charges to Recoup State Funds and Penalties in MDOC Prison Scandal
From: News Release 2/15/17 GCN
JACKSON— Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that he has filed 11 civil RICO lawsuits against all corporate and individual conspirators in the prison bribery scandal.
Attorney General Hood is seeking damages and punitive damages against the following individuals and corporations: former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps; Cecil McCrory; Robert Simmons; Irb Benjamin; Sam Waggoner; Mark Longoria; Teresa Malone; Carl Reddix; Michael Reddix; Andrew Jenkins; Management & Training Corporation; The GEO Group, Inc.; Cornell Companies, Inc.; Wexford Health Sources, Inc.; The Bantry Group Corporation; AdminPros, L.L.C.; CGL Facility Management, LLC; Mississippi Correctional Management, Inc.; Branan Medical Corporation; Drug Testing Corporation; Global Tel*Link Corporation; Health Assurance, LLC; Keefe Commissary Network, LLC; Sentinel Offender Services, L.L.C. and AJA Management & Technical Services, Inc.
“The state of Mississippi has been defrauded through a pattern of bribery, kickbacks, misrepresentations, fraud, concealment, money laundering and other wrongful conduct,” Attorney General Hood said. “These individuals and corporations that benefited by stealing from taxpayers must not only pay the state's losses, but state law requires that they must also forfeit and return the entire amount of the contracts paid by the state. We are also seeking punitive damages to punishment these conspirators and to deter those who might consider giving or receiving kickbacks in the future."
According to the lawsuits, multiple corporations, including some of the most prominent private prison contractors, paid millions of dollars in so-called “consulting fees” to individuals who then used those fees to pay bribes and kickbacks to Epps. Based on those bribes and kickbacks, Epps awarded, directed or extended approximately $800 million in public contracts to those private prison contractors.
To date, Epps, McCrory, Simmons, Benjamin, Waggoner and Longoria have pleaded guilty to their involvement in the conspiracy.
Attorney General Hood alleges that the defendants violated Mississippi’s public ethics, racketeering and antitrust laws, along with several other claims. The Attorney General is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as forfeiture of all funds received by the individuals and corporations that were involved in these conspiracies.
“Out-of-state corporations were eager to take advantage of Mississippi taxpayers and secure MDOC contracts through bribery and fraud. It is critical for the state to use the remedies at its disposal to recover damages and get back the money exchanged in these schemes,” Attorney General Hood said. “I have a duty to protect the integrity of the public contracting process, as well as to vindicate the rights of the state when it is a victim of public corruption and other wrongful conduct