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Ex-guard sentenced for bribery

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A former federal prison guard from Rocky Mount will serve a year in prison for taking bribes, according to a Tuesday announcement by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Melvin Thomas, 40, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. to one year and one day in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release. He also was ordered to pay a $3,500 fine. Thomas, who faced up to 15 years in prison, pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official in April.

While employed from July 2009 to April 2017 at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta — a medium-security federal prison for male inmates that prohibits the possession of tobacco products — Thomas accepted bribes totaling $3,500 in exchange for smuggling tobacco into the prison, said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

“Thomas reneged on his oath of office by violating the laws he pledged to uphold,” Pak said. “This type of conduct will not be tolerated, and the defendant will now be held accountable for his betrayal of the public trust as well as his disloyalty to his fellow correctional officers.”

Smuggling contraband into federal prisons compromises the safety of correctional officers and inmates, said Robert A. Bourbon, special agent in charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General’s Miami Field Division.

“For that reason, the OIG takes very seriously investigations of this nature,” Bourbon said.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Huschka.

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