News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TUESDAY - December 8, 2009

FOUR SENTENCED IN BRIBERY CONSPIRACY

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court yesterday United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced four defendants in a conspiracy to bribe a public official. NATOSHA LATAY OWENS, 34, of Knightdale, North Carolina; RALPH AMES, 32, of Bronx, New York; and DWAYNE B. DOLLSON, 40, of Trenton, New Jersey, each received 24 months’ imprisonment. JAMES CHRISTOPHER FORD, 35, of Greensboro, North Carolina, was sentenced to five years probation.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Information on January 8, 2009. On September 8, 2009, and September 9, 2009, OWENS, DOLLSON, FORD, and AMES, respectively, pled guilty to conspiring to bribe a public official.

From 2003 until 2007 OWENS, an employee at Butner Correctional Facility, sold contraband, such as cigarettes and a cellular phone to inmates. Owens worked in the kitchen as a food services employee. During the course of the conspiracy, she supervised inmates at two separate Butner facilities. Inmates who worked in the kitchen used a network of friends and family members to provide money to her, and she provided contraband to those inmates while they were working with her in the kitchen. In turn, these inmates would resell the contraband to other inmates who would often resell it again, each transaction resulting in a higher price and profit. AMES was one of the kitchen employees who obtained contraband directly from OWENS. DOLLSON purchased a cell phone through other inmates who obtained it from OWENS. FORD purchased and resold cigarettes from other inmates who purchased them from OWENS. FORD used the proceeds to operate a gambling ticket in the prison. Three co-defendants, Karenzo Kenshaun Miller, Kamal Patel, and Ronald Fishman are expected to be sentenced early next year.

Mr. Holding commented, “The sentences imposed by the Court reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed by these defendants. Employees at all levels of our federal prison system must abide by its highest ethical and legal standards to ensure the proper functioning of our prison system. When they fail to meet these standards, my office stands ready to aggressively prosecute them.”

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Prisons. Assistant United States Attorney David Bragdon represented 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.

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