Stacey Pomrenke, Kurt Pomrenke Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
ABINGDON, Va. – Stacey Pomrenke and her husband Kurt Pomrenke pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to conspiring to defraud the United States while Stacey Pomrenke was on pre-trial release. Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar, David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, made the announcement today.
Stacey Pomrenke, 48, of Abingdon, Va., waived her right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today to a one-count Information charging her with conspiring to defraud the United States while on pre-trial release. Kurt Pomrenke, 67, of Abingdon, Va., waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty to a one-count Information charging him with conspiring to defraud the United States.
“Residential Drug Abuse Programs are impactful programs designed to aid inmates dealing with actual, documented addiction disorders. These programs are not a means to simply shorten the sentences of defendants looking to get out of jail early,” Acting United States Attorney Bubar said today. “I am thankful to the FBI and IRS-CI for bringing these defendants to justice and working to maintain the important mission of the RDAP programs in our federal penitentiaries.”
“The defendant's actions undermine the purpose of an important program intended for people who need help. We will investigate and refer for prosecution any abuses of these federal programs,” Special Agent in Charge Archey said today. “We are grateful for the partnership of the United States Attorney's Office (WDVA) and the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations Division on this investigation.”
“Pomrenke continued her pattern of fraudulent behavior. Rather than serving her time sentenced, she and her husband schemed to shorten her incarceration by defrauding programs meant for the betterment of inmates battling addictions,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson. “Further, they encouraged others to engage in the same scheme which deteriorates the effectiveness of these programs from those who truly need it.”
According to court documents, on October 27, 2015, Stacey Pomrenke was arrested based upon the return of an indictment alleging multiple violations of federal law resulting from the federal investigation of Bristol Virginia Utilities Authority. When interviewed by a probation officer for the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Stacey Pomrenke denied any history of substance abuse. Following her conviction for multiple federal offenses, Stacey Pomrenke was again interviewed by probation officers for the United States District Court. During this interview, Stacey Pomrenke again denied any history of substance abuse and stated she was a “social drinker.” Stacey Pomrenke remained on release until September 26, 2016.
On August 11, 2016, Stacey Pomrenke was sentenced to 34 months in federal prison and ordered to self-report to the Bureau of Prisons facility at Alderson, West Virginia. The Bureau of Prisons operates an intensive drug and alcohol abuse treatment program known as the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). In order to gain entry to RDAP, a federal inmate must meet certain criteria, including having a diagnosable and verifiable drug or alcohol abuse disorder. By successfully completing RDAP, an inmate can qualify for early release from custody.
Beginning on or about August 19, 2016, Stacey and Kurt Pomrenke were solicited by and began corresponding with Tony Pham a.k.a. Anh Nguyen, the operator of RDAP Law Consultants LLC, a business that solicited prospective and current federal inmates through telephone calls and emails offering assistance in applying for, and qualifying for, RDAP. For a fee, RDAP Law Consultants coached and advised prospective and current inmates on how to gain admission to RDAP by lying to the Bureau of Prisons about the existence, duration, and extent of a qualifying substance abuse disorder.
On August 22, 2016, Stacey Pomrenke entered into a consulting agreement with RDAP Law Consultants, agreeing to pay $7,500. The agreement was revised by Kurt Pomrenke and signed by Stacey Pomrenke and Anh Nguyen. Shortly after entering into the agreement, Nguyen began coaching Stacey and Kurt Pomrenke regarding the steps they would need to take to defraud the Bureau of Prisons to secure Stacey Pomrenke’s admission to RDAP.
In one of the first discussions with Nguyen, Stacey and Kurt Pomrenke made it clear that Stacey Pomrenke only drank a glass or two of wine a week and did not have an alcohol abuse problem or addiction.
Based on the advice of Nguyen, on August 31, 2016, Stacey Pomrenke made an appointment with her physician and falsely stated that over the last three years she had been drinking more and going from one glass of wine up to three glasses of wine at night. As a result of the false statements, Stacey Pomrenke’s physician prescribed her Ativan to prevent physical complications from alcohol withdrawal when she reported to prison.
On September 18, 2016, Nguyen sent an email to Stacey Pomrenke with the subject line “Show Withdrawal Symptoms.” In the email, Nguyen detailed a series of withdrawal symptoms Stacey Pomrenke should show within the first 24 hours of reporting to prison.
Between August 31, 2016 and September 25, 2016, Nguyen continued to work with Stacey Pomrenke and Kurt Pomrenke through telephone calls and emails to develop a false, but plausible story of alcohol abuse and the need for treatment.
On September 26, 2016, Stacey and Kurt Pomrenke traveled to the Bureau of Prisons facility at Alderson, West Virginia. When Stacey Pomrenke reported to the facility, she was intoxicated and under the influence of alcohol. During her initial health screen, Stacey Pomrenke told officials she “had been drinking at least a bottle of wine daily since 2008.” At the time she made the statement, Stacey Pomrenke knew that statement to be false.
As a result of her false statements and fraudulent claims of alcohol abuse and addiction, Stacey Pomrenke was admitted to RDAP on November 2, 2016 and began the program on December 2, 2016.
As a result of Stacey Pomrenke successfully being admitted to the RDAP program, Kurt Pomrenke agreed to discuss Nguyen’s assistance with other “high profile potential clients” of RDAP Law Consultants, LLC.
Stacey Pomrenke completed RDAP on or about September 22, 2017. Because she completed RDAP, Stacey Pomrenke’s term of imprisonment was reduced by seven months and one day.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorneys Zachary T. Lee and Lena L. Busscher are prosecuting the case for the United States.