|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON|
|FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2010||PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER|
|HTTP://WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe||DIRECT: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881|
DALLAS MAN SENTENCED IN PAROLE BOARD SCHEME
PLANO, Texas - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that a 67-year-old Dallas man has been sentenced to federal prison for mail fraud in the Eastern District of Texas.
ANDREW ROBERT COATS pleaded guilty on May 7, 2009, to two counts of mail fraud and was sentenced to 150 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell.
According to information presented in court, from January 2002 to March 2006, Coats devised a scheme to defraud and obtain money from family members of inmates seeking release on parole by creating a sham parole consulting business called Parole and Probation Services, Inc. (PPS).
Coats told inmates and their family members that, for a fee, PPS would represent inmates before the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. In many instances, Coats promised to seek early parole review for inmates whose statutorily set review dates were still years in the future, despite the fact that early review was not available to them. Coats also led client inmates and their family members to believe that he was in regular contact with parole board members about their cases even though, as a non-lawyer, he was prohibited by law from making such contacts. Coats repeatedly represented to clients that he was a lawyer. Coats charged each client thousands of dollars for services that neither he nor PPS performed. He deposited client payments into bank accounts that he controlled and used the bulk of the money for his own personal use. Restitution will be determined by the court within the next 90 days. Coats was indicted a federal grand jury on April 2, 2009.
This case was investigated by the US Postal Inspection Service and Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Office of Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tammy Reno.
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