Thursday, September 15, 2016

Someone finally goes to jail in Epps scandal

The Justice Department issued the following press release:


Biloxi Businessman Sentenced For Kickback Scheme With Mississippi Department 
of Corrections Commissioner

Gulfport, Miss - Robert Simmons, 60, of Biloxi, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to 87 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for carrying out a complicated kickback scheme in which he paid money to the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) and to a Harrison County Supervisor in exchange for lucrative contracts with the state and county, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Harold Brittain and FBI Special Agent in Charge Donald Alway.  Simmons was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.



By virtue of Simmons’ relationship with the commissioner and supervisor and the kickbacks which he paid to both, he was successful in securing and keeping contracts with both governmental entities.  Specifically, from 2012 through August 2014, Simmons was paid $4,000 a month as a consultant for Sentinel Offender Services, L.L.C. (Sentinel).  Since 2012, Sentinel was under contract with the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) to provide services to aid in the monitoring and managing of offenders sentenced to probation or parole.  Simmons deposited a portion of his monthly pay, a kickback of $1400, directly into the bank account of Christopher Epps, the Commissioner of
the MDOC, at bank branch locations along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

AJA Management and Technical Services (AJA) provided construction management services to the MDOC for the construction of the $40,000,000 expansion to the East Mississippi Correctional Facility and a $40,000,000 expansion to the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility. Throughout the eighteen month period of construction, Simmons received a monthly consulting fee from AJA of $10,000. Every month, a portion of Simmons’ consulting fee was paid to the Commissioner of the MDOC.

From approximately 2005 through 2011, Health Assurance L.L.C. contracted with the Harrison County Jail to provide inmate medical services. The owner of Health Assurance L.L.C. paid Simmons a consulting fee which, at the end of the contract, was as high as $10,000 a month. Throughout this period of time, Simmons made payments in the amount of $2,000 a month to a Harrison County Supervisor for assistance provided in securing the contract at the Harrison County Jail for inmate medical services.

Throughout the relevant time period, the Commissioner of the MDOC exercised influence in the awarding of contracts with the MDOC. In return for these contracts and in order to secure future contracts and favors, Simmons began paying Commissioner Epps.

In summary, Simmons paid bribes and kickbacks to a Harrison county supervisor and to the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, and both Harrison County and the Mississippi Department of Corrections received more than $10,000 during each one year period beginning in 2008 and continuing through 2014.

This case was inve tigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Golden.

Kingfish note: Dr. Carl Reddix is one of the owners of Health Assurance, Inc. The Priester Law Firm is the registered agent for the company. The Harrison County supervisor was William Martin.  Mr. Martin killed himself the day he was to be arraigned for his indictment.  JJ broke the story spelling out the scheme between Mr. Martin and Health Assurance, Inc.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

*prison

Anonymous said...

Does this mean the others indicted will probably receive 87 months (7 years and and 3 months) and $10,000.00 also. I am not an atty. and don't know how the system works. Before I would be forced to accept those terms I would be singing like a bird.

Anonymous said...

This guy plead guilty. I wonder how much time he would have gotten if he had gone to trial?

Anonymous said...

Acting us attorney? Where is Greg Davis?

Anonymous said...

KF- should the Priesters be worried about this or is it normal attorney business relationship?

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! I am surprised that a guilty plea produced this long of a sentence for this man.Must be lots of money embezzled/stolen/manipulated.The amount of time a convicted person is sentenced to has a lot to do with the amount of money involved in the crime.Based on this Chris Epps may get 50 years.Unless,of course,he gives up a governor or two.

Anonymous said...

Cool Sul strikes again!

Call Leadco said...

We may need to add a new wing onto the prison

Anonymous said...

Has AJA been implicated yet? Here is there website
http://ajaservices.com/about-us

We're Talkin' Bout Real Money Here said...

This is simply amazing - That over and over and over we learn that so many people were depositing money into Epps' accounts or otherwise giving him large sums of money.

How in the hell did Epps think he would fly under the radar forever? Was he simply overwhelmed by it all? Did he intend to cash-out and leave the casino? What do public records show that he contributed to campaigns of various governors? Those would be legal bribes.

Anonymous said...

This guy sure has a broad area of "consulting" expertise; inmate monitoring, construction, medical services. Besides making bank deposits, I'm curious as to what services this guy actually performed when he wasn't stealing money from the taxpayers. Are there any functions of our state and local government that don't have 3 layers of consultants and overnight llc's siphoning money on its way down to the poor sucker whose actually working for a paycheck?

Anonymous said...

4:27 Robert Simmon's claim to fame was his connection to Rep. Bennie Thompson. He could get you an appointment if you hired him.Plain and simple his expertise was selling access.He obviously was also willing to divide the proceeds from these sales with those being accessed.This is being done at all levels.These days you must hire that special associate or friend aka consultant of an agency higher-up if you have any expectation of positive results.The no-bid emergency contracts featured right here on JJ that have been passed out to those "business men" with claimed "consulting" expertise are just another way that the current politicians reward the connected class for past deeds.Sad thing is that when one consultant gets caught another gets some business cards printed and fills the open slot.

Anonymous said...

Hey, now he will be a consumer of his consultation services so he can see what difference he made! The 7+ years added experience he will now get he can add to his resume! "Internal corrections internship"

Anonymous said...

....Or in some cases another one gets some signs and cartoons printed up in an attempt to influence elections. But this thread isn't about Greg Brand.

Anonymous said...

look at the money this guy made and used as a bribe. this will tell you how many years the judge is handing down for each defendant from here on out.

Anonymous said...

6:03 Any chance Simmons' activities could "reach" Bennie?

Anonymous said...

Bennie is an untouchable as long as Obama controls the USDOJ. He sure is tight with many that are involved in the prison scandal.If he had a son it would probably look like Chris Epps.

Anonymous said...

This sentence will have no correlation with those to come in future months and years. Nobody ever heard of this judge.

Anonymous said...

Is the man really in jail or is he just sentenced to go to jail?

Anonymous said...

Is there anybody out there who was not associated with Epps?

Anonymous said...

Yes, there are several. Some that represented companies that were interested in doing business with the state MDOC but didn't want to play the game required. Most probably didn't know about it while there were some that suspected the requirements and just steered clear.

Despite many of the comments here and elsewhere, contracting with the state (MDOC or other agencies) is part of many businesses daily business. Hiring consultants, salespeople, lobbyists, etc to help bring the companies together with the agencies is perfectly legal, moral, ethical and normal. People that have a relationship with agency heads or staff of course use that relationship to try to get their clients in the bidding process.

But as long as the contracts are awarded to the lowest and best bid (not adjusted), based on a competitive RFP, is not bad business or politics. Granted, nothing in this Epps scandal fits that definition - but it does with most agencies in most administrations.

And it doesn't just happen in purchasing contracts for goods and services. Similar greed and corruption occurs in private business and in professions. (Remember Dickie Scruggs using influence and friends to buy verdicts?)

When it doesn't - they all should go to jail and forfeit anything and everything that they gained from the illegal activity.

Anonymous said...

4:23 said "Despite many of the comments here and elsewhere, contracting with the state (MDOC or other agencies) is part of many businesses daily business. Hiring consultants, salespeople, lobbyists, etc to help bring the companies together with the agencies is perfectly legal, moral, ethical and normal. People that have a relationship with agency heads or staff of course use that relationship to try to get their clients in the bidding process." I really like the point about relationships.The people who were able to secure the paper product contracts used the 4:23 "How To" blueprint.They hired the right connected consultants who used the insider relationship they have to get them in front of the agency head. 4:23 also stated "But as long as the contracts are awarded to the lowest and best bid (not adjusted), based on a competitive RFP, is not bad business or politics. Granted, nothing in this Epps scandal fits that definition." This is so correct.Epps had his own contract award system based on a customized profit sharing program. Sqeezing the Charmin with Epps to receive the contract for supplying paper products to the MDOC would surprise no one. At some point soon this will come to the surface from the depths of the ongoing federal investigation.

Whur My Lawyah At? said...

Doesn't the Attorney General's office have a full time staff position assigned to represent, guide and counsel the DOC Commish? Has all of this gone on to a total blind eye of AG Hood's office? And Mike Moore's?

Anonymous said...

"customized profit sharing plan" - That right there is an award winner....

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Loading...

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?

Archives

Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
.