Thursday, November 6, 2014

Epps & McCrory free on bond. US Attorney: scheme continued for nearly a decade.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ball set bond at $25,000 each for defendants Chris Epps and Cecil McCrory.  A grand jury indicted the pair in August for 49 counts of various charges, although the indictment was sealed until today.  The charges are listed in the press release posted below. Mr. Epps resigned his position as MDOC Commissioner yesterday while Mr. McCrory resigned his position on the Rankin County School Board earlier this week.  The scene in the courtroom was surreal as one of the most powerful men in state government stood as a defendant at the mercy of a judge. Both men appeared in suits as they were not in custody. 




Attorney John Collette represented Mr. Epps and attorney Don Leland represented Mr. McCrory.
Judge Ball set the trial date for January 5, 2015 although it will be continued.  Judge Henry Wingate will preside over the trial.  The government also moved to seize Mr. Epps's house in Flowood, condo in Pass Christian, two Mercedes Benzes, and nearly $1 million from various accounts.

FBI SAC Donald Alway addresses reporters as Acting US Attorney Harold Brittain,  Assistant US Attorney Karla Clark, and State Auditor Stacey Pickering watch.
Acting U.S. Attorney Harold Brittain called the prosecution a "major blow against systemic corruption in our state" and that the scheme continued for nearly a decade.  He said the investigation involved cooperation between the Justice Department, FBI, US Postal Service, and State Auditor Stacey Pickering. State Auditor Stacey Pickering said "“It is a very sad day in Mississippi when individuals with a history of public service are charged with blatantly committing crimes to increase their personal fortunes.   They are accused of deliberately violating public trust while serving in positions of leadership.  This case is a textbook example of state, local and federal officials working together to protect taxpayer money."

Kingfish note: Interesting that the feds moves to seize most, if not all of Chris Epps's assets yet made no such move towards Cecil McCrory.  


34 comments:

Anonymous said...

The only surprise here is that it took so damn long for them to get caught.

What an idiot McCrory turned out to be: Paying off mortgages, "parking" money in brokerage accounts. He left a money trail Ray Charles could follow.

Plus, how smart is Epps? Mercedes', big houses, condos on the coast. His salary couldn't equate to that lifestyle.

I hope they both lose all assets and go to the federal pen.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. Over a million dollars and a decade's worth of corruption and Judge Ball said only $25k is needed? Where's Danks when you need him?

Anonymous said...

The reason they moved to seize Epps' assets is they were paid for directly with proceeds from the fraud. No doubt McCrory ended up making more money, but that money made its way into his pockets much more circuitously, so forfeiture of, say, a house would be difficult to impossible. Does the indictment mention monetary penalties, aside from the forfeiture?

Anonymous said...

My question is: if they were in fact being as stupid as the indictment suggests by making direct payments/deposits, etc., and had been doing so for nearly a decade, why the hell did the Federalis wait so long to pull the trigger? No loaded question. I just don't know why they would wait so long.

Anonymous said...

3:45
Exactly what I was thinking. Mark Mayfield, RIP, was utterly humiliated with a $250,000 bail requirement for a foolish political prank, and these real crooks who actually appear to have stolen very large amounts of the people's money have $25,000 bail bonds? I utterly despised McDaniel, and voted for Cochran, but what happened to Mark in Madison will never, ever sit well with me.

Anonymous said...

It said the scheme lasted almost a decade, it didn't say they were under investigation for a decade.

Kingfish said...

I will say this about Danks. He did throw million dollar bonds at those robbers in Cypress Lake.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 3:49 - All of Epps assets can be directly tied to the proceeds of the fraud = easier to prove. You will probably see a huge restitution amount levied against McCrary which can in turn be paid from his assets whatever the source of those assets.

these two beat out the release of the sequel to "Dumb and Dumber"

Anonymous said...

The following link is very interesting in light of the recent events. Particularly the comments by Thigpen about Gov Boss Hogg
http://www.jacksonadvocateonline.com/mississippi-corrections-director-christopher-epps-wins-award-as-outstanding-corrections-commissioner-in-the-nation/

Anonymous said...

@3:49 Go back and look at KF's post of the USAO press release it gives the sentencing and fines for each count.

robert redd said...

Robert Redd: I definitely agree with the comparisons of BOND vs "crime alleged" in this & the Mayfield case!! TRAVESTY, Ad nauseum!!
OK, now we need some review by Feds in Hinds County; SCHOOL BOARD & Superintendent, Supervisors & Detention Center, District Atty & City jail?? Pick min of 2

Anonymous said...

From link above.

Haley Barbour: "[Chris Epps] is an 'intelligent, honest decision-maker and problem-solver'".

Anonymous said...

Think about it. McCrory was already rich, allegedly bribing a public servant. Public servants are vulnerable to this because they don't have assets, have financial troubles, or both. So, their assets are seized not only because they are tied directly, but also because they don't have other assets (being poor or middle class prior to the scheme). Likewise, the private sector briber (and former public servant in this case) had received a large jury award, has businesses which are incorporated, AND a Trust. Making it much more difficult to disentangle, but, as was said, a cash cow that he can tap to pay restitution. Look up McCrory in property records and you see it in a McCrory Trust in large part. He can be cooperating to get the counts down, or otherwise, to become your typical White Collar Crook (not withstanding his country boy outfits for public appearances as a Freedom Fightin' Tax Cuttin' Patriot) and get out of jail still filthy rich. Like Scruggs, etc etc. But not that filthy rich. They just laugh at the law. 2 years in a country club pen with golf courses and they are back up in the box suites at Ole Miss and donating to their favorite politicians for a pardon.

Anonymous said...

4:57 and 5:23 (same poster)....We GET IT. You hate Haley Barbour. Good Lord get a life.

Anonymous said...

There was a big gap between the end of scheme and the indictment. With that low bond. Since they both had ultra low bond, they must have been approached and maybe flipped well before. Very interesting if they were working on these prison corporations or whatever they are tangled up in. Bu don't try comparing Federal bond (Especially since DOJ has had Holder) and local bonds. It's apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

McCrory already a big contributor and longtime suporter of FEEL. Rankin County roots go deep. Too bad the tea party is losing one of their financial backers. But I bet he is going to be gone a lot longer than 2. Try adding a zero.

And FEEl can't pardon him out - this has federal behind it.

Anonymous said...

bail is different in federal court. state court bonds are secured by semicriminal bail bond agents; in federal court they are usually unsecured bond agreements, but in federal court it is a crime to fail to appear, not so in state court. Epps has no where to go nor assets to get there. if he does something stupid, with a track record for such of course, he is easily apprehended.

Anonymous said...

Look at precedent in the Sen. John Ford case in Memphis. Not only bribery charges but threatening witnesses. But 20K bond. As has been said, there is a long investigation, probably interviews and possible cooperation, so it's exceedingly unlikely that they will flee or do something rash after that. If they were, they'd do it upon learning about it. So, it's not "unfair" or unprecedented. These are public officials well known to everyone. And it's not like Epps is gonna hire an inmate to help him hide. He's hoping to hide from them! He's putty in the government's hands. Now, as far as sentence, if these guys are flipped and cooperating, being first time offenders, the numbers are NOT big as to an actual sentence. Lots of counts but they could plea to just one and probably will if they've caught bigger fish or jump first. While Ford had less bribe money offered, he got only 66 months, was acquitted of the witness counts, and some counts were later overturned. He did about 1 year. White Collar Crime pays (tragically).

Anonymous said...

6:12 What is that, FEEL? Or FEEI? What is that? (Maybe I fell for a joke). Tell us more.

Anonymous said...

@6:18 not to mention the US Marshals are efficient hunters of the absconders. Anyone aiding and or abetting flight by an absconder- might get their own invite to PMITAFP.

Anonymous said...

Anyone think that this court end up reaching deep into the MS Legislature? After all, it is the Legislature that allows these no bid contracts. I would be interested to know who has sponsored the legislation that provided for the no bid contracts.

Anonymous said...

stupid Obama let this happen

Anonymous said...


Has anyone driven by the home of McCrory? And if I am not mistaken his Atty son built and lives on the acreage. Amazing that nothing of McCrory was seized. With all his political connections he will probably never do time and will live richly,happily ever after.

Anonymous said...

Bet Epps wishes he had thought more carefully before voting for Cochran.

Anonymous said...

Or Hinds County and no-bid contracts. Like hundreds of thousands of dollars to Airwave to cut grass at three cell phone towers.

Anonymous said...

Or drive by Lakewood Cove in North Jackson. How does a county supervisor, ex-JPD dispatcher own a 300k house? Whoops!?

Anonymous said...

What? 10:08 there is good money to be made in police impersonation. He also dabbles in voter intimidation on the side.

Anonymous said...

If this one took years, maybe there is still hope for Hinds county. Auditor Pickering and FBI, are you listening??

Anonymous said...

. State Auditor Stacey Pickering said "“It is a very sad day in Mississippi when individuals with a history of public service are charged with blatantly committing crimes to increase their personal fortunes. They are accused of deliberately violating public trust while serving in positions of leadership. This case is a textbook example of state, local and federal officials working together to protect taxpayer money."

The State Auditor and his office are a joke. How in the hell can anyone say with a straight face that this is a "textbook example of how to protect taxpayer money." They stole, diverted, embezzled, illegally earned, profitted from, and got MDOC contracts worth almost a billion dollars and made huge personal profits off of it, while MDOC is paying correction officers less than $20K a year for dangerous work. It amazes me that we allow inept government officials to say seven years after the crime, "yes sir, we saw what they were up to and we caught them. Nothing gets by us." Epps made at least a million illegal dollars, McCrory even more. A textbook example of how to live high on the hog of taxpayer money for over seven years. I'm not impressed Pickering with you, your state agencies, the locals or the Feds!

Anonymous said...

11 years now of Republican administrations and the debacles keep rolling in!

Anonymous said...

Epps became commish under Musgrove.

Anonymous said...

Not just Epps. Walker (DMR) was appointed by Musgrove. But little matter - there were plenty of debacles similar to this under Dem administrations - evidently 12:14 just doesn't want to remember back that far.

Anonymous said...

Like the GOP 'Beef Plant' KiOR?

Anonymous said...

Are the people in place who allowed this to happen on their watch not accountable??? If not, why not and what the hell are they doing?? I have a feeling this will go deep and wide, as it should! If, we, the people and taxpayers allow this to happen without consequences for everyone responsible, then we deserve what we get!

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