Former State Senator and lobbyist Irb Benjamin will plead guilty to conspiracy and bribery at a hearing scheduled for October 18 in U.S. District Court. A federal grand jury indicted Mr. Benjamin on August 18, 2015 for conspiracy and bribery. Benjamin obtained MDOC contracts through his company Mississippi Correctional Management. Benjamin also obtained contracts for other companies by acting as a consultant. He would allegedly split the consulting fee with then-MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps. The first page of the indictment below provides the plot of the scheme hatched by the Commissioner and the Jack Gordon protege. He is represented by "Plea Bargain" Joe Holloman.
JJ broke the story in November 2014 that Mr. Benjamin was involved in the Chris Epps scandal:
A former lobbyist for Mississippi Prison Industries resigned his position as warden of the Alcorn County jail yesterday. WTVA reported:The change of plea notice that was filed Friday states:
Alcorn County's jail warden, Irb Benjamin, is resigning from his position. The warden announced his plans to step down Thursday. Alcorn County Supervisor Lowell Hinton said Benjamin's resignation came as a surprise to the supervisors. He said Benjamin lives in Jackson and manages two other jails. He said the distance is a factor in why Benjamin is leaving. ....
*The Desoto County Board of Supervisors hired Mr. Benjamin at $3,000 a month in 2008 as a consultant to assist the county in building a new jail. Controversy erupted after two lower bids were rejected after Mr. Benjamin added language to the bid requirements that applicants must have built jails that cost at least $8 million. One company with a lower bid had constructed a jail for $6 million. Article
*MCM obtained approval to operate the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility. The facility accepts county and state prisoners. Article
*MCM managed the Marion/Walthall regional facility.
*The Winona Times reported in 2010 that Commissioner Epps recommended Mr. Benjamin to the Carroll County Board of Supervisors: :
Jail consultant Irb Benjamin gave the Carroll County Board of Supervisors a financial briefing on the Vaiden Jail and assured them that the facility is in good standing.
Benjamin, a representative from the Mississippi Correctional Management was referred to Carroll County Sheriff Jerry Carver from Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps.
COMES NOW the Defendant, IRB BENJAMIN, by and through his counsel ofrecord, JOE M. HOLLOMON, and notifies the Court and the U.S. Attorney's office of Defendant's intent to change his plea to guilty on the charge brought against him by the government. RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED, this the 30 day of September, 2016.