Maryland Man Facing Federal Charges For Fraudulently Obtaining Covid-19 Cares Act Paycheck Protection Program Loan
Baltimore, Maryland – Lynette Carlest, age 49, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to participating in a racketeering conspiracy, including drug distribution and bribery, by assisting a detainee at Chesapeake Detention Facility (CDF) in Baltimore, Maryland to have contraband smuggled into the facility.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Baltimore Field Office; and Secretary Robert Green of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS).
According to her guilty plea, between 2018 and March 11, 2019, Carlest conspired with others to assist a detainee to smuggle narcotics, cell phones, and other contraband into CDF. Specifically, Carlest used a mobile monetary transfer application to manage the financial aspects of the detainee’s smuggling operation. For example, Carlest used the application to send at least four bribe payments of $800 or more to Darren Parker, a correctional officer at CDF, in exchange for Parker’s assistance in smuggling contraband into the jail.
As detailed in the plea agreement, Carlest met with Parker and provided him with contraband on multiple occasions. For example, on March 10, 2019, Carlest met with Parker to give Parker a cell phone, charger, suboxone, and tobacco to be smuggled into CDF and given to the detainee. On March 11, 2019, Parker brought the contraband to work and was approached by law enforcement officers in the CDF parking lot. Later that day, Carlest received a call from the detainee, using a contraband cell phone inside CDF, informing her that Parker had been caught attempting to smuggle contraband into the jail.
Carlest faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for racketeering conspiracy. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell has scheduled sentencing for February 9, 2022 at 11 a.m.
Correctional officers Darren Parker, age 45, of Baltimore, Maryland and Talaia Youngblood, age 35, of Randallstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty to their roles in a racketeering conspiracy at CDF on October 18, 2021 and October 13, 2021, respectively. They admitted that they accepted bribes to smuggle contraband, including narcotics, tobacco, and cell phones, into the jail. Another co-defendant, Jasmine Coleman, age 29, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty on October 25, 2021, to arranging bribes and providing contraband to be smuggled into CDF on behalf of another detainee.
The U.S. Attorney expressed appreciation to the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, whose staff initiated the CDF investigation and have been full partners in this investigation.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and DPSCS for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Harry M. Gruber, who are prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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