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Thursday, September 9, 2010
Federal Inmate Sentenced to 96 Months in Prison for Obstructing DOJ Office of the Inspector General

WASHINGTON - A federal inmate was sentenced today in Kansas City, Mo., to 96 months in prison for obstructing justice by making false statements and creating false evidence in connection with another criminal case in which the inmate was charged, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

U.S. District Court Judge Dean Whipple also sentenced Margie P. Shephard, 46, to three years of supervised release following the prison term.  In the underlying identity theft case in which she was charged, Shephard was sentenced to 24 months in prison to run consecutive to the obstruction sentence, 60 months in prison to run concurrent with the obstruction sentence and three years of supervised release.

Shephard pleaded guilty on Feb. 23, 2010, in the Western District of Missouri to one count of endeavoring to obstruct the administration of justice in connection with the identity theft prosecution of her.  Shephard previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft and one count of aggravated identity theft.  At the time of the obstruction offense, Shephard was in federal custody and awaiting trial on the identity theft charges, which were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri. 

According to court documents, Shephard admitted that from June 29, 2007, to Aug. 7, 2007, she operated a scheme to manufacture counterfeit payroll checks in the names of identity theft victims, and pass the checks in order to obtain money.  According to the plea agreement, Shephard admitted that from approximately April 2009 to January 2010, she gave false statements and provided physical evidence to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG), falsely alleging that a federal government employee was engaged in an identity theft scheme.  Shephard admitted she provided this false evidence to the DOJ-OIG in an attempt to persuade the U.S. Attorney’s Office to request a reduction in her prison sentence in the pending conspiracy and identity theft case.

Shephard’s actions caused the recusal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office from the investigation of her false allegations, the continuance of the underlying criminal case against her while the allegations were investigated, and the use of substantial OIG resources in investigating her claims.  Shephard admitted she continued to provide false statements and physical evidence that she knew was being provided to a grand jury and to the court, as well as attempted to convince others to manufacture false evidence to support her allegations.  Ultimately, the government determined that her allegations about an identity theft scheme involving a federal government employee were not true.

The obstruction case was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Richard C. Pilger of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and was investigated by the DOJ-OIG.  The underlying conspiracy and identity theft case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson of the Western District of Missouri, and was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and local law enforcement authorities. 

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Criminal Division
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