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UNICOR Fraudsters Plead Guilty, Sentenced

A former federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employee and a former contractor were indicted and have pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud UNICOR, the prison industries arm of the BOP.

The indictment, handed down by a grand jury in the Northern District of Florida, alleged that James Bailey, formerly employed at the UNICOR electronics recycling program at a BOP facility in Marianna, Florida, conspired with Lee Temples, a former UNICOR contractor, to manipulate the sale of electronics from the recycling program for their personal gain.

Bailey was the factory manager at the Marianna UNICOR plant, which recycles computers and other electronics primarily received from local, state and federal agencies. Salvageable electronics are sold by UNICOR for profit, typically by a third party.

As factory manager, Bailey was able to steer the best electronics to Temples for resale through his businesses, Fast-Lane Computers and E-Surplus Solutions, according to the indictment. Bailey failed to disclose, though, that he was a silent partner in those business ventures and that Temples was his cousin.

From 2004 to 2007, Bailey allegedly received $228,252 from Temples – half the profits from the sale of all the electronics Bailey steered to him.

Temples and Bailey were charged with conspiracy, money laundering, wire fraud, conflict of interest and depriving UNICOR of honest services. Bailey was also charged with making false statements, and Temples with obstruction of justice.

Bailey subsequently pleaded guilty to 19 counts, including conspiracy and fraud charges, and was sentenced to 27 months in prison and three years supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and forfeit $25,000. Temples entered a guilty plea to six charges and was sentenced to five years probation plus a $25,000 fine. See: United States v. Bailey, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Fla.), Case No. 3:10-cr-00068-LC-CJK.

Bailey later filed a habeas corpus petition challenging his convictions, including the honest services charge, which he argued was illegal under Skilling v. United States, 130 S.Ct. 2896 (2010). His habeas petition remains pending.

Problems with UNICOR’s recycling program are nothing new. As previously reported in PLN, numerous prisoners and BOP and UNICOR staff have been harmed as a result of shoddy work practices that exposed prisoners and employees to toxic dust from recycled electronics. [See: PLN, Oct. 2011, p.44; Jan. 2009, p.1].

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Related legal cases

United States v. Bailey

Skilling v. United States