Inmate, correctional officer sentenced in bribery scheme
Ponca City Now - May 14, 2018 3:46 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Jose Tomas Castillo-Garza, 40, and Charles Daniel Lynn, 34, of El Reno, Oklahoma, have been sentenced to federal prison for a bribery scheme, announced Robert J. Troester, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
According to an indictment filed on Aug. 16, 2017, Castillo-Garza was an inmate at Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton, Oklahoma, during the latter half of 2016, when Lynn served as a correctional officer. Operated by GEO Group, Great Plains is a low-security institution that contracts with the Bureau of Prisons to house approximately 1,800 federal inmates. Federal regulations prohibit certain contraband items in correctional institutions, including cell phones and electronic music players.
The indictment charged Castillo-Garza with conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud and offering a bribe. Lynn was charged with conspiracy and accepting a bribe. The indictment also charged Armando Tabares, 30, of Mission, Texas, with conspiracy and bribery.
According to the indictment, Lynn agreed to receive contraband items from Tabares, to smuggle these items into Great Plains, and to deliver them to Castillo-Garza, who is Tabares’s brother-in-law. The contraband items included cell phones, electronic music players, and other items. The indictment also alleged Lynn escorted Castillo-Garza to various parts of Great Plains to distribute the contraband to other inmates. In exchange for Lynn’s services, Tabares and others were alleged to have paid Lynn through interstate wire transfers via Walmart Money Gram. The alleged conspiracy deprived the government of Lynn’s honest services as a prison employee.
Both Castillo-Garza and Lynn pleaded guilty to conspiracy in November 2017. Lynn also pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe.
On April 24, 2018, United States District Judge David L. Russell sentenced Castillo-Garza to two years in prison, to be served consecutively to the 50-month sentence he is currently serving. Today Judge Russell sentenced Lynn to 15 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.
The charges against Tabares have been transferred to the Southern District of Texas for final disposition.
This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI and the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney K. McKenzie Anderson prosecuted the case.