FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday - May
GREENVILLE - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that LINDA JOHNSON SAUNDERS, 43, of Louisburg, N. C., pled guilty in federal court in Greenville on Monday, May 12, 2003, pursuant to a plea agreement. U. S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard accepted SAUNDERS' pleas of guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and to structure financial transactions; two counts of extortion of funds "under color of official right;" two counts of money laundering; and one count of structuring financial transactions to avoid the filing of a Currency Transaction Report.
On the conspiracy conviction, SAUNDERS could face a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000.00, and a supervised release term of three years. On each of the two extortion convictions, SAUNDERS could face a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000.00, and a supervised release term of three years. On each of the two money laundering convictions, SAUNDERS could face a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, a fine of $500,000.00, and a supervised release term of three years. On the structuring conviction, SAUNDERS could face a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000.00, and a supervised release term of three years. The actual sentence will be imposed by the Court in accordance with the United States Sentencing Guidelines. A sentencing date has been tentatively scheduled for August 18, 2003, in Greenville.
SAUNDERS and BOBBY C. McLAMB were indicted by a federal grand jury in Raleigh on March 10, 2003, on various charges related to the Meg Scott Phipps Campaign 2000 for Commissioner of Agriculture. McLAMB pled guilty to the charges against him in federal court in Greenville on March 31, 2003. According to the indictment, McLAMB, after losing to Phipps in the Democratic primary in August, 2000, supported Phipps in the general election and later became Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture. SAUNDERS served as the treasurer of the Phipps Campaign and was appointed Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Agriculture following the election.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, in conjunction with the United States Attorney's Office and the Office of Wake County District Attorney C. Colon Willoughby, Jr. The Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the U. S. Department of Justice also played a role in the investigation. Assistant U. S. Attorney Dennis M. Duffy and Executive Assistant U. S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce are handling the case for the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.