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Press Release

Prison Consultant Pleads Guilty to Role in Conspiracy to Defraud Federal Bureau of Prisons

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that SAMUEL COPENHAVER, 48, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to conspiracy and wire fraud offenses for his role in defrauding the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”).  The scheme involved coaching prospective and current federal inmates who would not otherwise require substance abuse treatment how to lie to gain admission into a BOP program that, if completed successfully, would result in a shortened prison term.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the Residential Drug Abuse Program (“RDAP”) is a 500-hour substance abuse treatment program that is administered by the BOP.  In order to gain admission to the RDAP, a federal inmate must meet certain criteria, including having a diagnosable and verifiable drug or alcohol abuse disorder.  By successfully completing the RDAP, an inmate can qualify for up to 12 months in early release from custody.

Copenhaver was employed by Michigan-based RDAP Law Consultants, LLC, where he solicited and engaged prospective clients of the company.  In that capacity, Copenhaver regularly contacted federal defendants and inmates with offers to assist, for a fee, those defendants and inmates in applying and qualifying for admission to the RDAP.  Although Copenhaver knew that many of the company’s clients did not abuse alcohol or drugs and were ineligible for the RDAP, he coached them how to feign or exaggerate a drug or alcohol disorder, and to make false statements to the BOP so they could gain admission to the RDAP.

Copenhaver was arrested on January 23, 2019.

Judge Meyer scheduled sentencing for January 16, 2020, at which time Copenhaver faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 25 years.

Copenhaver is released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.

This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan N. Francis and Trial Attorney Avi Perry of the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section, who has been designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for this matter.

U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of West Virginia and the Western District of Michigan for their assistance in this matter.

Updated October 10, 2019