Jerald Bland Plead Guilty in Houston Federal Court to One Count of Transportation

January 4, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 3, 2012 released the following:

“Houston Man Enters Guilty Plea to Transporting a Woman for Commercial Sex

HOUSTON— Jerald Bland aka “Moe Betta,” 30, of Houston, has pleaded guilty to one count of transportation, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Bland admitted to transporting a woman to Louisiana intending that she engage in prostitution. An investigation by the Houston FBI Innocence Lost Task Force, which includes the Houston Police Department, developed this case using on line advertisements for the victim’s services and hotel records from several hotels in Louisiana.

On March 8, 2010, Houston Police Department officers conducted an undercover operation which resulted in the apprehension of Bland and the identification of the female victim. At that time, a silver Sony HDX Camera was discovered along with pictures of females in sexually provocative poses and photos of Bland flashing money. According to the factual basis in support of the guilty plea today, between May 26 and June 7, 2010, Bland transported the female victim to Beaumont, Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La. While out of town, ads were posted for sexual services on the Internet which were discovered by investigating officers and corresponded to the dates of the hotel reservations where they stayed.

Several employees from the hotels involved recognized Bland and the victim as being at the hotels. At one location, the business center was used to post Internet ads for prostitution which was discovered by an employee.

Bland kept all the money the woman earned in relation to the sexual services performed.

U.S. Judge Nancy F. Atlas, who accepted the guilty plea today, set sentencing for March 20, 2012, at which time Bland faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Bland also faces a maximum lifetime term of supervised release. He will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri L. Zack.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Record 309-Year Sentence Upheld for Federal Crime Conviction

March 31, 2011

United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced yesterday that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a sentence of 309 years’ imprisonment for Robert Thompson, also known as John Lawson, age 44, of Zachary, Louisiana. Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson imposed the sentence on February 17, 2010, following Thompson’s conviction on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and obstruct justice; seven counts of wire fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering; one count of mail fraud; one count of honest services mail fraud; one count of money laundering; four counts of access device fraud; two counts of aggravated identify theft; one count of computer fraud; one count of bank fraud; and one count of obstruction of justice.

The 309-year sentence constituted the fourth-longest white-collar prison sentence in U.S. history and the longest such sentence in the history of the Middle District of Louisiana. Thompson is currently serving his sentence in a specialized communication management unit located within the maximum security federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. The unit is one of only two in the country and is specially designed to deal with inmates who are prone to use communication with the outside to facilitate additional crimes.

This matter involved Thompson engaging in multiple, long-running conspiracies with numerous co-conspirators to obtain and use the personal and financial information of approximately 150 individuals, churches, financial institutions, and businesses, without their knowledge or authorization, to steal from their bank accounts and use their credit to obtain things of value, including attempting to steal $20,000,000 from one victim’s bank accounts. To facilitate the scheme, Thompson enlisted corrections officers to assist him through bribery and other means.

Despite the affirmation of Thompson’s sentence by the Fifth Circuit, he may still seek redress by appealing his case to the Supreme Court. Thompson may be able to argue his case on grounds of an 8th Amendment violation. The 8th Amendment constitutionally prohibits the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court has held, even recently, that the imposition of a sentence must not be disproportionate to the crime. Just last term, the Supreme Court addressed an 8th Amendment argument and reaffirmed the principle that while serious nonhomicide crimes are indeed devastating to the public, they should not be compared to murder in their severity or irrevocability. See Graham v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2011 (2010).

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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