Federal Bribery Charges Filed Against Former Washoe County Sheriff's Deputy and Hollywood Video Producer
Reno, Nev. – Felony indictments have been returned against a former Washoe County Jail employee and a Hollywood video producer alleging that cash and gifts were provided to former jail employees in exchange for favorable treatment for a federal inmate who was housed at the jail during 2007 and 2008, announced Greg Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Michon Mills, 39, of Carson City, Nevada, a former sergeant with the Washoe County Sheriff's Department, is charged with two counts of Gratuity Received By a Public Official. Aaron Weinstein, 45, of Woodland Hills, California, who works in the television and video production and marketing industry, is charged with three counts of Gratuity Paid to a Public Official. Mills was arrested this morning in Reno, and is scheduled to make an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at 2:00 p.m. today in Reno. Weinstein was arrested today in Los Angeles, and is scheduled to make an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at 2:00 p.m. today in Los Angeles. If convicted, the maximum penalty for each charge is two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The indictment alleges that on numerous occasions between June 4, 2007, and January 1, 2008, Weinstein provided three former Washoe County Sheriff's Department employees with money and gifts in return for favorable treatment to a federal pretrial detainee who was an associate of Weinstein. Specifically, Weinstein allegedly provided former Sheriff's Deputy Ralph Hawkins with multiple gifts, including $3,200 in cash and four tickets to an Oakland Raiders football game in exchange for bringing food into the jail; Weinstein provided Mary Boxx, a former inmate classification specialist, with multiple gifts, including a television, a home entertainment system, and an airline ticket in return for Boxx bringing unauthorized items into the jail; and Weinstein provided Mills with multiple gifts, including a Cartier watch valued at approximately $4,500 and a $5,000 Saks Fifth Avenue department store gift card in return for the provision of special benefits to the detainee, including protecting the detainee from disciplinary action and ensuring that the detainee had almost unrestrained access to telephones.
In two related cases, Ralph Hawkins, 41, of North Fort, Florida, was charged by criminal information with Acceptance of Gratuity By a Public Official. Hawkins pleaded guilty on July 17, 2009, and is scheduled to be sentenced in Reno on October 21, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. by U.S. District Judge Brian Sandoval. Mary Boxx, 54, of Sparks, Nevada, is charged with Acceptance of Gratuity By a Public Official and is scheduled for an entry of plea on August 24, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks in Reno.
The public is reminded that an Indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, Washoe County Sheriff's Office, and Sparks Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ronald C. Rachow and Sue Fahami.