Two Members of the Paul Girard Criminal Enterprise Plead Guilty to RICO Charges
St. Thomas, USVI – Robert Brown, age 30, and Etherneal Simon, age 49, both of St. Croix, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges for their respective roles as members of the Paul Girard Criminal Enterprise (“the Enterprise”), United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced. Brown, who entered his guilty plea on December 20, 2019, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in aid of racketeering activity; Simon, who entered her guilty plea today, pled guilty to RICO conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. The Honorable Curtis V. Gomez, Chief Judge, District Court of the Virgin Islands, accepted both guilty pleas.
In his plea agreement, Brown admitted to serving as a chief enforcer for the Enterprise. As a chief enforcer, Brown admitted that he committed acts of violence on behalf of the Enterprise in order to: 1) enrich, preserve, expand, and protect the power, territory, and prestige of the Enterprise; 2) keep potential victims and rival gang members in fear of the Enterprise and its associates; 3) confront and retaliate against rival drug dealers and gangs; 4) protect the Enterprise and its members from detection, apprehension, and prosecution; and 5) financially support the Enterprise through robbery and other acts.
Brown specifically admitted that, in addition to other acts of violence, on September 4, 2015, he murdered an individual identified in the Fourth Superseding Indictment as J.W., a member of a rival criminal enterprise. Brown and his Enterprise associates planned and carried out the murder of J.W. at his child’s St. Croix daycare, as the daycare closed for the day. Brown acted as the driver, and positioned his vehicle next to the passenger side of an SUV, where he knew J.W. was seated, waiting for his child. Brown sprayed gunfire from his AK-47 into the passenger side of the SUV, killing J.W. During the entry of his guilty plea in federal court. Brown further admitted that he committed the murder in order to maintain his position in the Enterprise.
Brown further admitted that, on February 2, 2016, he ambushed members of a rival gang outside of the H&R Supermarket, ultimately shooting and killing an individual identified as J.E. in the Fourth Superseding Indictment, who Brown believed was attempting to return gunfire.
Brown faces up to life imprisonment, a five-year term of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000, for each count. Judge Gomez scheduled defendant Brown’s sentencing for April 23, 2020, at 9:00 a.m.
Simon likewise admitted to having acted as the financial and logistics facilitator for the Paul Girard Enterprise. Specifically, Simon acknowledged that, as part of her role in the RICO conspiracy, she rented the cars that Enterprise associates used to commit five different attempted murders on two separate occasions. Simon further admitted that she laundered drug proceeds of the Enterprise.
Simon faces up to twenty years’ imprisonment, a five-year term of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 for the RICO conspiracy count, and the same for the money laundering count, with the exception that the maximum fine for that offense is $500,000. Simon’s sentencing is scheduled for May 21, 2020, at 9 a.m.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virgin Islands Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Meredith J. Edwards.