/Texas businessman admits guilt in Epps bribery case

Texas businessman admits guilt in Epps bribery case

U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate told Longoria that before his company applied for business with the Corrections Department, he received a message saying “we had to go through Cecil McCrory.” McCrory was previously a defendant in the long-running case of influence peddling. McCrory’s lawyer told the court that he would change his plea. Longoria spoke in a two-hour hearing where he pleaded guilty for paying almost $230,000 in “commissions” to McCrory’s Investigative Research Inc. company. The $782,000 contract was with the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Wingate asked Longoria why he was chosen to be the consultant. The 53-year-old Longoria from Houston, Texas replied, “I don’t know.” Longoria, 53, from Houston, Texas, said he didn’t know at first that Epps was paying him any money. However, McCrory later spoke about Epps’ “his commission” and “his Epps’.” Longoria added, “That’s when two and two were combined – regrettably I did not object.” Longoria was charged with conspiring to gain business from the Corrections Departmnet through funneling kickbacks, bribes through McCrory on July 25. The government charges were brought to the court in a bill of Information. This is a charge that has not been made by a grand jury. Prosecutor Darren LaMarca stated that Longoria and Drug Testing Corp. paid McCrory’s firm each time it was paid by Mississippi Department of Corrections for testing cups. He said that the payments to Epps were approximately $60,000 in total. McCrory confessed to conspiring with Longoria in order to make Drug Testing Corp the exclusive provider for the Corrections Department. Longoria could face up to five years imprisonment, $131,000 cash forfeiture and a $250,000 penalty for his guilty plea. His Oct. 13 sentencing date was set. Epps pleaded guilty to conspiring to receive kickbacks or bribes in excess of $1.4 million in February. He has not been sentenced. Teresa Malone, the wife of Bennett Malone of Carthage and former state representative, appeared before Keith Ball, Magistrate. A federal indictment charges her with making monthly payments to Epps from 2010 to 2014 to secure and keep contracts for her employer, AdminPros LLC of Illinois to provide Medicaid eligibility services and medical vendor monitoring to the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Malone’s husband was a former chairman of the House Corrections Committee. Malone was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of wire fraud, and receiving kickbacks. She could spend up to 30 years prison and face a $500,000 fine if she is convicted. Malone will be tried on Oct. 3. Jamie Franks, Malone’s Tupelo attorney, informed the court that he would seek a continuance as he will be traveling abroad for legal business in the fall. The scandal rocked the state agency and saw it removed as the longest-serving corrections chief in the state. Four other people were also indicted. Franks informed the court that Malone was a double-lung transplant recipient. She would require medical treatment at Oschner’s in New Orleans. Ball assured her that the court would respond to her medical needs. Malone and Longoria each have a $10,000 unsecured bond. To support this important work, make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today.