Federal Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes for Prison Contraband
BIRMINGHAM – A former correctional officer at the Federal Correctional Institution at Aliceville pleaded guilty today to accepting $5,695 in bribes to smuggle contraband into the prison and lying about it to investigators, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey, FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton, and Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge Robert A. Bourbon.
ERIC C. PENDLETON, 54, of Montgomery, entered his guilty pleas before U.S. District Court Judge Madeline H. Haikala to accepting a bribe in return for violating his official duty as a federal correctional officer, and to making false statements to agents of the FBI and the DOJ-OIG. Pendleton is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 18.
As a federal correctional officer, Pendleton was a public official. He worked at the women’s prison from about January 2014 to August 2015. Beginning about September 2014, Pendleton worked as a federal materials handler supervisor in the prison commissary and laundry, overseeing inmates assigned to work in those facilities, according to the charges and Pendleton’s plea.
During that time, Pendleton reached an agreement with an inmate to bring requested items, including prohibited items such as cigarettes, into the prison in return for payment. Pendleton arranged for payment by providing inmates with prepaid credit card numbers and instructing them to have friends or family members load money onto the cards, according to the court documents. Pendleton also told inmates they could pay him by having friends or family send money orders to a Tuscaloosa County address. Pendleton owned the home at that address, but relatives lived there.
Pendleton deposited many of the money orders into his bank account, some bearing the name of the inmate for whom the payment was made in the “memo” line, according to court documents.
When agents interviewed Pendleton in September 2015, he falsely denied smuggling contraband into the prison or providing credit card numbers or an address to inmates so they could have payments sent to him.
The FBI and DOJ-OIG investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Xavier O. Carter Sr. is prosecuting.