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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Former Federal Corrections Officer Arraigned on Bribery Charges

Former FCI Ray Brook Officer Charged with Smuggling Cell Phone to Inmate

PLATTSBURGH, NEW YORK – Carlos Ochoa, age 31, of Puerto Rico, was arraigned today on charges that he accepted a bribe from an inmate while he was a corrections officer at Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Ray Brook.


The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian; Vadim D. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Ronald G. Gardella, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice.


Ochoa is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery by a public official, and providing contraband to a federal inmate.


According to the indictment, Ochoa agreed to accept money in exchange for smuggling an iPhone to Richard Coleman, an inmate at FCI Ray Brook. Ochoa then successfully smuggled the iPhone into the facility and provided it to Coleman, who used the phone to communicate with people outside of the facility. The phone was discovered during a cell search on March 8, 2013.


In addition to Ochoa, the indictment charges Coleman with conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery of a public official, and possession of contraband by a federal inmate.


The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


If convicted of all charges, Ochoa faces up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 3 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.


Ochoa appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Gary L. Favro, who ordered Ochoa detained pending trial before Senior United States Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. Ochoa was already in custody on federal charges in Puerto Rico. He is accused there of accepting a bribe as a corrections officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, as well as supplying a firearm and ammunition to a prohibited person, and attempting to aid and abet possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.


This case is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Kopita and Douglas Collyer.

Updated March 30, 2017