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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Two Sentenced to Federal Prison for Roles in Fraud and Racketeering Schemes that Involved the Attempted Capital Murder of State District Court Judge Julie Kocurek

In Austin today, a federal judge sentenced 29-year-old Marcellus Antoine Burgin of Cypress, TX, and 27-year-old Rasul Kareem Scott of Marrero, LA, to 300 months and 210 months in federal prison, respectively, for carrying out fraud and racketeering schemes that involved the attempted capital murder of State District Court Judge Julie Kocurek in November of 2015. 

That announcement was made by U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs; IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Goss, Houston Field Office; Austin Police Chief Brian Manley; and, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, Houston Division.

In addition to the prison terms, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ordered that Burgin and Scott be placed under supervised release for a period of five years and pay restitution, joint and severally, in the amount of $22,315.80. 

In November 2017, Burgin and Scott pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statue.  Evidence presented during trial earlier this year for their co-defendant--31-year-old Chimene Hamilton Onyeri--revealed that in November 2015, all three defendants conspired to commit various fraudulent schemes for financial gain in Austin, Houston, the state of Louisiana and surrounding areas.  Schemes included converting stolen debit card numbers obtained from skimming devices into cash.  The Onyeri racketeering enterprise involved mail fraud, bribery of a public official, wire fraud, document fraud, access device fraud, money laundering and attempted murder. 

According to testimony, when the existence of the criminal enterprise was threatened, Onyeri responded with violence.  On the night of November 6, 2015, Onyeri attempted to murder State District Court Judge Julie Kocurek, whom Onyeri believed was going to sentence him to prison, by shooting Judge Kocurek while she sat in her car outside her home in Austin.  As a result of the incident, Kocurek suffered serious bodily injury from multiple gunshots and resulting shrapnel.

On October 2, 2018, Judge Yeakel sentenced Onyeri to life in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of one count of conspiracy to violate the RICO statute, one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, seven counts of aggravated identity theft, and six counts of witness tampering.

The FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, Austin Police Department and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office investigated this case.  The 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in (Calcasieu Parish) Lake Charles, Louisiana; Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office; U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of Texas and the Eastern District of Louisiana; the U.S. Marshals Service; Travis County Sheriff’s Office; and, the Houston Police Department provided valuable assistance during this investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Dayna L. Blazey of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated November 13, 2018