Home / Badge Abuse / Cops and Lawmakers Exposed in Massive $800m Private Prison Bribery Conspiracy

Cops and Lawmakers Exposed in Massive $800m Private Prison Bribery Conspiracy

JACKSON, Miss. (CN) — Mississippi sued 10 people and 15 corporations this week to recoup more than $800 million in state money lost in a seven-year prison bribery scandal.

Defendants in the 11 lawsuits included former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps, and former Republican state House Member Cecil McCrory, the key figures in the conspiracy. They and four other people pleaded guilty to their involvement in the conspiracy.

Attorney General Jim Hood says in the lawsuits that multiple corporations, including prominent private prison contractors, paid millions of dollars in bogus “consulting fees” to people who used the money to pay bribes and kickbacks to Epps.

Epps then steered approximately $800 million in public contracts to those private prison contractors.

“The state of Mississippi has been defrauded through a pattern of bribery, kickbacks, misrepresentations, fraud, concealment, money laundering and other wrongful conduct,” Hood said in a statement. “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.”

The state seeks forfeiture of all the money received by the people and corporations, and punitive damages “to punish these conspirators,” the attorney general said.

Hood, a Democrat, said the 25 defendants violated Mississippi’s public ethics, racketeering and antitrust laws.

The lawsuits called the prison bribery scandal “one of the largest and longest-running criminal and civil conspiracies in Mississippi government history.”

Defendant corporations include The GEO Group; Mississippi Correctional Management; Global Tel*Link Corporation; Health Assurance LLC; and Keefe Commissary Network LLC.

  • TeslaFan

    They will lose. Corporations own America now. It’s over.

    • Bruce_Mitchell

      That’s up to the people serving on the jury. More and more people are becoming aware of this problem every day, and they are not happy about it.

      Site such as The Free Thought Project are providing a real public service in bringing such cases to our attention. Not just as a one off story or briefly, but keeping the stories alive on the site. People such as myself see this as important enough to share on Facebook and send out to our email lists to do our bit in spreading the word.

      • The Cat’s Vagina

        I, too, have found practical ways of expressing my appreciation for this site.

  • LawrenceNeal

    Just one instance in one state. Prison work programs are slavery, and corporations that use them are complicit.

    • Blaq Knite

      You are so correct. The only reason a private institution would run a prison is because of slavery. They have a workforce they don’t have to pay for now. They set up contracts for these institutions to do things with that labor in the name of punishing the inmates and rehabilitating them. Plus they get paid by the state for housing them.

      • The Cat’s Vagina

        Most of those contracts even contain a horrifying “minimum occupancy” guarantee, wherein the state PROMISES to fill up at least 90% of their cells, or pay them as if they were.

        • Thebob

          Isn’t a huge problem when we lock people up for a plant all the time….Yet big pharma can release a bad drug and nothing happens.

    • I agree. This isn’t the only state with this level of corruption. If you have ever been in jail, you know the system is corrupt. Try making a call or accepting one from someone in jail and you will see the phone contracts are corrupt. In Texas, the state legislators purchase large amounts of gifts from the prison system to give to contributors. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ca4307ff7c30fe65fdde8ec6899f0af1e14e0887d7f5238618da371d843197ff.jpg

  • I think we’re seeing what happens when someone feels ripped off because their particular palm didn’t get greased. I’ve done some business in Mississippi. That was a few years ago and maybe things have changed but still, my first thought while reading this was “I wonder how much these companies will have to spend in bribes and gratuities they will have to pay into the legal system there to get clear of the legal troubles caused by the bribes and gratuities they paid into the political system”.

  • Ibcamn

    the system is corrupt and cops love working for it…..[cops supply the prisons with innocent people every year,with smiles on their faces and lies in court.]and cash in their pockets.

  • junktex

    Wonder who they pissed off?You know this must be widespread practice.

  • Thebob

    This is just the tip of the spear, TFTP, I would like to see an article on the corrupt Child Trafficking that goes on in our so called Child Services we have nation wide, peddling innocent children to human traffickers and pedophiles….

  • Thebob

    Wouldn’t mind seeing an article on Jury Nullification also…

  • tom browne

    that was the idea all along for private prisons. duh