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Press Release

Birmingham Lawyer Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Bribing State Legislator

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

BIRMINGHAM – A Birmingham lawyer who was in a scheme to bribe a state legislator to use his office to oppose Environmental Protection Agency Actions in north Birmingham, received a federal prison sentence today of 5 years, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman.

District Judge Abdul Kallon sentenced JOEL IVERSON GILBERT, 46, to 5 years in prison, $25,000 fine, and 2 years supervised release with 100 hours of community service each year, for bribing former Alabama Rep. Oliver Robinson with a $375,000 contract paid to him through his non-profit Oliver Robinson Foundation over the past two years. 

Gilbert was convicted on July 23, 2018 of bribery, honest services wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

Robinson pleaded guilty in September 2017 to the conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud, and tax evasion.   

 “Gilbert was too clever by half and his concoction and execution of this illegal scheme was met today with just punishment”, Town said.  “This case represents all manner of poisons in corrupt politics.  It is my hope that these convictions and sentences will dissuade those who seek to gain unlawful advantages in the political process for their personal gain…and at the expense of too many. The victims in this case have gotten a voice through this process and that voice will ring in the ears of Mr. Gilbert for years to come.”

“Today, Mr. Gilbert answers for his path of corruption and will spend the next five years being held accountable for his actions”, Sharp said.  “The FBI and our partners will continue to aggressively pursue those who would pursue corrupt practices.”

  The FBI and IRS investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorneys George Martin, Robin Beardsley Mark and John B. Ward prosecuted.

Updated October 24, 2018

Public Corruption