JACKSON, Miss.- Irb Benjamin, a former state senator and businessman from Madison, has plead guilty to criminal charges involving former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps.
Benjamin was the sixth person to plea guilty in the corruption scandal.
He was charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and with two counts of bribery.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office, beginning around 2010 until 2014 Benjamin gave former MDOC Commissioner Epps bribes and kickbacks in exchange for contracts being given or directed to Benjamin’s company, Mississippi Correctional Management (MCM). The contracts would allow MCM to provide alcohol and drug treatment services to inmates within MDOC facilities in obtaining and maintaining accreditation by the American Correctional Association.
MCM was paid about $774,000.00 because of those contracts.
“Postal Inspectors bring to a task force unique skills for hunting down suspected fraud through the U.S. Mail,” said U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez. “Postal Inspectors steadfastly work with our partners and defend the nation’s mail system in hopes that criminals abusing the American public’s trust are brought to justice.”
The contracts included consulting services for three regional corrections facilities during and after construction. They were maintained through accreditation from the American Correctional Association.
Those contracts included facilities in Alcorn for about $399,260, Washington for about $245,080 and Chickasaw Counties for about $217,900.
He appeared in court on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Benjamin’s sentencing has been set for January 24. He faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
This is a developing story and News Mississippi will post updates as they become available.