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Press Release

Six Indicted for Bribery Scheme at Federal Prison in Petersburg

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia
Two correctional officers, inmates, and inmate’s family members charged in bribery scheme

RICHMOND, Va. – A federal indictment was unsealed today charging six individuals with conspiracy to bribe staff members and receive bribes as staff members at Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Petersburg to introduce drugs, cigarettes, and cellular telephones into the federal prison and to allow the running of an inmate gambling operation in violation of Bureau of Prison regulations.

According to the indictment, Stephen Taylor, 48, and Shanice Bullock, 28, who were employed at the prison in Petersburg, sought and received tens of thousands of dollars over the course of the conspiracy from inmate Dontay Cox, 37, and associates of Cox, including his mother, Kim Williams, 56, and girlfriend, Rameesha Smith, 36, to facilitate the introduction of the controlled substances, cigarettes, and cellular telephones. 

According to the indictment, Cox worked alongside other inmates at FCI Petersburg, including fellow FCI Petersburg inmate Travian Taylor, 29, to run his contraband scheme inside the prison.  FCI Petersburg inmates and their associates would then pay Williams, Smith, and another co-conspirator using a variety of methods. Stephen Taylor and Bullock were paid thousands of dollars via wire transfers from Walmart-2-Walmart. 

All six defendants are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Additionally, Stephen Taylor, Bullock, Williams, and Cox are charged with multiple counts of offering bribes to and receiving bribes by public officials.  If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison per count. Cox is also charged with possessing marijuana in the prison. If convicted, Cox faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office; and Russell W. Cunningham, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the indictment was unsealed.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth Simon, Jr. and Michael C. Moore are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:20-cr-125.

An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated November 13, 2020

Public Corruption