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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Former Corrections Officer Sentenced To Prison For Role In Bribery Conspiracy Involving Contraband Cellphones Smuggled Into The Indiana County Jail

PITTSBURGH, PA - A former resident of McDonough, Georgia, was sentenced in federal court on charges of conspiracy and bribery by a public official, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Alex Lewis, 26, a former corrections officer at the Indiana County Jail (ICJ), was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment followed by 18 months of supervised release.

During his plea hearing on July 15, 2021, Lewis admitted that between June and August 2019, he accepted multiple bribes from Rashon Richardson, a federal detainee housed at ICJ pursuant to a contract with the United States Marshals Service. As part of the conspiracy, Lewis admitted that Richardson used an intermediary outside ICJ to meet with him and pay bribes in the form of cash and, on one occasion, via a $400 payment to Lewis’s Cash App account. In return for the bribe payments, Lewis admitted smuggling multiple contraband cellphones into ICJ for use by Richardson and other federal detainees housed at the facility.

During Lewis’s sentencing, United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon rejected Lewis’s request for a probationary sentence and instead imposed a sentence consistent with the United States Sentencing Guidelines. In reaching her decision, Judge Bissoon stated, “If the people we place in trusted positions cannot be trusted, the entire system breaks down.”
Richardson has pleaded not guilty, and his case remains pending before Judge Bissoon. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Assistant United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government. The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the conviction in this case. The Pennsylvania State Police and Indiana County Jail also provided valuable assistance during the course of the investigation.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated November 10, 2021