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Former Berlin corrections officer sentenced for accepting bribes

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 18. 2018 10:10PM
The Federal Corrections Institution in Berlin. (COURTESY)

CONCORD — A former Berlin corrections officer was sentenced this week to 15 months in federal prison for accepting bribes from inmates in exchange for cellphones and tobacco.

Latoya Sebree, 37, formerly of Milan was sentenced this week in U.S. District Court in Concord, Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley said in a release.

According to court documents, a criminal investigation was launched in 2016 when law enforcement agents received information that Sebree was providing marijuana and other controlled substances, cell phones, tobacco and other contraband to inmates at the Federal Corrections Institution in Berlin in exchange for cash payments.

While under surveillance by law enforcement agents, Sebree agreed to deliver a cell phone and a quantity of tobacco to an inmate in exchange for $2,000.

The items were shipped in a package to Sebree’s post office box. Sebree removed the package from the post office and then drove to her former residence in Milan. When investigators went to Sebree’s home to execute a search warrant, court records show she gave them the $2,000 and the cell phone.

Sebree admitted to investigators she had provided controlled substances, cell phones, and other prohibited items to inmates over several weeks in exchange for cash. During a search of Sebree’s home, investigators seized Suboxone strips, a heat sealer, tobacco in various stages of packaging, as well as other evidence.

Sebree pleaded guilty Sept. 5, 2017 to accepting bribes. After serving her sentence, she will be on supervised release for one year.

“The public deserves honest service from its civil servants,” said Farley in a statement. “This officer betrayed the public trust and undermined the safety and integrity of a federal prison facility by taking bribes to smuggle contraband into a prison. This type of conduct cannot be tolerated. Those who attempt to profit from their public positions will be prosecuted aggressively.”

“The smuggling of cell phones and drugs into our federal prison system puts correctional officers and staff, inmates, and the community at risk,” said Ronald G. Gardella, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General’s New York Field Office, which assisted in the investigation. “The OIG will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to investigate and bring to justice any DOJ employee involved in prison contraband smuggling.”

“It’s very troubling that Ms. Sebree sought to profit from her position by accepting bribes from inmates and providing contraband for cash,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division (FBI). “Greed and corruption have no place in our criminal justice system, and the FBI is committed to identifying corrupt public employees like Sebree, who undermine the confidence and trust expected from those in public service.”

Crime Berlin Milan

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