Arlington, Texas, Man Fined $10,000 For Role In Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice By Attempting To Influence A Federal Judge
FORT WORTH, Texas — At a sentencing hearing held this morning in federal court in Fort Worth, an Arlington, Texas, man, Shani Shehu, 42, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John McBryde to a two-year term of probation and fined $10,000, following his guilty plea in April 2013 to an information charging one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by attempting to influence a federal judge. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents filed in the case, from early February 2012 to mid-May 2012, Shehu conspired with Halid Amer, 42, formerly of Grand Prairie, Texas, to obstruct justice in an effort to unlawfully obtain a probated sentence for Amer. Amer had pleaded guilty in January 2012 to his role in a mortgage fraud conspiracy and at the time, was awaiting sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, in Dallas.
On February 4, 2012, according to the plea documents, Shehu arranged for Amer to meet with a man from Arlington who could put Amer in touch with someone who knew Judge Solis. At the meeting, Amer told the man that he was willing to pay a cash bribe to Judge Solis in return for a guarantee of a probated sentence. This man, however, advised law enforcement of the plans and the FBI arranged for an undercover agent to meet with Shehu and Amer. During an April meeting, Amer expressed concern that if he were caught making a bribe, he could make matters worse for himself. Then, in a meeting one week later, Shehu expressed concern that he believed that they might be working with an undercover law enforcement agent and wanted to receive assurances that they were not. On May 18, 2012, during a meeting with the undercover agent, Amer and Shehu continued negotiating the amount, method and timing of the payment of the cash bribe to Judge Solis.
On June 26, 2012, after the government learned of Amir’s plan to give a cash bribe to the judge in return for a probated sentence, the Court granted the government’s motion to revoke Amir’s bond. Amer is currently serving a 41-month federal prison sentence in Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Memphis on the mortgage fraud conviction. The conspiracy case against Amir was transferred to the Western District of Tennessee, where he has pleaded guilty and been sentenced on the offense.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer prosecuted.