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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray of the Criminal Division and M. Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Pittsburgh Division of the FBI, announced today that a West Virginia man has been sentenced to 66 months in federal prison for a scheme in which he falsely claimed that he could “fix” a federal prosecution by bribing officials including the United States Attorney and a federal judge.

Carl R. Mapel, Jr., 73, of Morgantown, West Virginia previously pleaded guilty as charged to an Indictment charging him and co-defendant Mark Anthony Reynolds with aiding and abetting each other in two counts of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.

Mapel was sentenced today by the Honorable David A. Faber, Chief Judge of the Southern District of West Virginia, in Beckley, West Virginia. In addition to the prison sentence, Faber ordered Mapel to pay $32,000 in restitution and sentenced him to three years of supervised release after his term of incarceration.

The charges against Mapel and Reynolds arose from a scheme to bilk money from a defendant in a separate federal criminal case in West Virginia. Mapel had once been a lawyer, but by the time of the scheme was a convicted felon with no license to practice law. Nevertheless, Mapel appeared as a defense lawyer in a federal money laundering case in the Southern District of West Virginia, while Reynolds, a candidate for the West Virginia State Senate, acted as his paralegal assistant. Together, Mapel and Reynolds repeatedly and falsely pressed the money laundering defendant for money to “fix” a lenient sentence by purportedly bribing federal officials, including the prosecutors and the judge.

Having determined that the claims of Mapel and Reynolds were false and that no official corruption was in progress, FBI agents arrested Mapel and Reynolds on March 25, 2004 for fraud and obstruction of justice. The arrests followed two separate, recorded sting operations that day in which each man accepted $9,000 in cash for the supposed purpose of bribing the federal officials.

Reynolds went to trial and was found guilty by a federal jury of both the fraud scheme and obstruction of justice. In January 2005, Judge Faber sentenced Reynolds, who had an extensive criminal history, to 10 years in federal prison, noting that he wanted to “send a message” to persons who would impugn “the reputation and the integrity of this Court or the judges of this Court.”

“The sentences handed down as a result of this investigation show that the Department of Justice will aggressively pursue and prosecute any individual who seeks to pervert the judicial process for his own personal gain,” said Assistant Attorney General Wray.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia is recused from this case, in which the government was represented from Washington, D.C. by Trial Attorneys Richard C. Pilger and Shaun M. Palmer of the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice, headed by Section Chief Noel L. Hillman. The investigation was handled by Special Agent Dean A. Lauffer of the Charleston, West Virginia Resident Agency of the FBI.