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Press Release

Rikers Island Corrections Officer Sentenced To Over Three Years In Prison For Conspiring To Smuggle Contraband In Exchange For Bribes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JASON SKEET was sentenced to 37 months in prison for conspiring to smuggle contraband to inmates at Rikers Island in exchange for bribes between January 2020 and June 2022.  SKEET smuggled contraband, including marijuana, to inmates approximately 100 times during that period.  SKEET previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery before U.S. District Judge Jennifer H. Rearden, who imposed today’s sentence.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Jason Skeet flagrantly abused his position of public trust by repeatedly smuggling contraband to inmates in exchange for bribes.  Rikers Island is less safe, for inmates and officers alike, when corrections officers accept bribes to smuggle contraband.  This prosecution and today’s sentence reflect this Office’s commitment to bring accountability to those in the corrections system who abuse their positions of trust.”   

According to the Complaint, the Information, court filings, and public court proceedings:

From approximately January 2020 through June 2022, the defendant conspired with others to smuggle contraband, including marijuana, cigarettes, and food, to inmates housed at the Northern Infirmary Command on Rikers Island in exchange for bribes.  The defendant smuggled contraband for inmates housed on Rikers Island approximately 100 times between the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and June 2022 in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in bribe payments. 

For example, on April 20 and May 9, 2022, an inmate (“Inmate-1”), using a contraband cellphone, texted the defendant requesting cigarettes and marijuana.  On each occasion, SKEET agreed to smuggle in the contraband in exchange for $1,000, and Inmate-1 proceeded to transfer $1,000 via CashApp into an account identified by SKEET.  With respect to the May 9, 2022, contraband request, SKEET, referencing two Ziploc bags containing marijuana, texted Inmate-1, in part, “two BIG zip coming your way.”  The contraband cellphone used by Inmate-1 was later recovered by law enforcement and found to contain the below photographs, taken only a few days after SKEET agreed to smuggle bags of marijuana for Inmate-1. 

Contraband bags of marijuana smuggled by the defendant

SKEET later acknowledged during a voluntary interview with law enforcement officers that he smuggled contraband to inmates on Rikers Island approximately 100 times since the start of the pandemic in exchange for bribes. 

In imposing a sentence at the top of the advisory Sentencing Guidelines range, Judge Rearden remarked that SKEET’s “conduct was serious and dangerous and reflected an extraordinary lack of respect for the law.”

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In addition to the prison term, SKEET, 46, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $45,644.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Department of Investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Z. Margulies, Jonathan E. Rebold, and Derek Wikstrom are in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated June 18, 2024

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 24-221