News and Press Releases

Former Magistrate in Portsmouth Sentenced for Accepting Bribes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2012

NORFOLK, Va. –Deborah Clark, 51, a former state magistrate in Portsmouth, Va., was sentenced today in Norfolk federal court to 12 months in prison for accepting bribes from a bondsman in exchange for giving him preferential treatment.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior United States District Judge Henry C. Morgan, Jr.

            Clark was found guilty on May 2, 2012. According to court documents, Clark was a state magistrate in Portsmouth from January 1993 until April of this year.  She was authorized in her official position to issue arrest and search warrants, and to admit to bail or order the detention of arrestees.  From 2009 through February 2012, she accepted cash and gifts from a bondsman in exchange for referring arrestees to the bondsman as prospective clients and seeking and accepting his advice on the amount of bond to set in particular cases.  During this time period, she accepted up to $150 per month from the bondsman.  In addition, she received from him numerous cash payments for gas and meals as well as expense money for trips.

            Clark was subject to prosecution for bribery under a federal statute because as a state magistrate she was an agent of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which receives annual benefits in excess of $10,000 under federal programs involving grants and other forms of assistance.  

            This case was investigated by the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan M. Salsbury and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy E. Cross of the Eastern District of Virginia, and Trial Attorneys Peter Mason and Monique Abrishami of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

 

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