Insurance agent pleads guilty in Corrections Corruption case, wa - - Jackson, MS

Insurance agent pleads guilty in Corrections Corruption case, waives right to appeal conviction

Guy "Butch" Evans exits the Thad Cochran United States Courthouse with his lawyers Guy "Butch" Evans exits the Thad Cochran United States Courthouse with his lawyers
Guy "Butch" Evans pleaded guilty Tuesday to aiding and abetting tax evasion Guy "Butch" Evans pleaded guilty Tuesday to aiding and abetting tax evasion
9 people have now been indicted in the Corrections Corruption case 9 people have now been indicted in the Corrections Corruption case
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The final person facing charges in an alleged kickback scheme involving Mississippi's former corrections commissioner Christopher Epps pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Guy "Butch" Evans pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting tax evasion. Between January 2013 and May 2014, Evans paid former Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps $19,200 in exchange for exclusive rights to sell insurance to prison employees. Consequently, Epps' taxable income for the calendar year of 2013 was an estimated $19,200 greater than the amount reported on his tax return. 

The U.S. Attorney's Office sent a statement Tuesday regarding the case:

"Evans received commissions from the insurance companies that provided the policies he sold to MDOC employees and paid a portion of his commissions to MDOC Commissioner Christopher B. Epps. Epps received approximately $19,200.00 in cash payments from Evans during the 2013 tax year. Evans made the payments to Epps with the full knowledge that Epps would not report the money on his return"


Evans testified Tuesday that his insurance company, Colonial Life, won a contract with the Mississippi Department of Corrections in 2012, to provide insurance to prison employees. This included life insurance, critical care, illness, disability, cancer, burial, and more, according to Evans. Employees could choose to purchase as many of those insurance policies as they wished.

Evans told Judge Wingate Tuesday the contract with MDOC was won fairly, in competition with other insurance companies and approved by a board. Epps did not have any role in deciding which company to contract with.

However, Evans testified that on January 2013, Epps called him saying, "My friends are taking care of me. I expect you to take care of me." 

Evans took this to mean he had to pay Epps in order to maintain his contract. He began paying Epps monthly, with the understanding that Epps would not include those cash payments in his income taxes filed with the IRS.

Evans said there was no specific or set amount he was obligated to pay Epps, nor was there a day of the month his payment was due. He told Judge Wingate he would meet with Epps in various locations, such as Epps' office, or at lunch, and give the Commissioner 10 or 15 percent of his business earnings.  That amount varied each month, depending on how many people had opted to purchase insurance.

Because Evans was aware Epps was not listing these payments on his tax return, he is guilty of aiding and abetting tax fraud. The maximum sentence for that charge is five years in prison, with three years of supervised release, along with a 100 thousand dollar fine and a 100 dollar special assessment. The prosecution will also seek restitution.  Evans' sentencing for aiding and abetting tax fraud has been set for July 10, 2018.

A grand jury indicted Evans in 2016 on charges of conspiracy and bribery, which carry a possible prison sentence of up to 30 years. The prosecution was willing to dismiss those charges as a part of Evans' plea deal.

Regarding the dismissal of Evans' original charges, the Internal Revenue Service said in a statement Tuesday, "The IRS defers to the court to render judgment in this matter as we proceed toward sentencing."

Evans' sentencing hearing is set for July 10th, before Judge Wingate.

A stipulation in Evans' plea with the U.S. Government is that he can only be charged regarding the dates included in his original indictment. Evans says he didn't know about anyone else paying Epps, and other people's involvement may have fallen in a different time frame than his. 

In the plea, he also waved his right to appeal or contest his conviction.

In May of 2017, a judge sentenced Mississippi's former prison boss, Christopher Epps, to nearly two decades behind bars.

Epps admitted to his role in a prison bribery scheme and has since helped identify several others involved. He pleaded guilty to money laundering and filing false tax returns. He will be spending nearly two decades in jail.

RELATED: Former MDOC Commissioner Chris Epps is sentenced in federal court

Eight other people have already been convicted for participating in shady deals with the Commissioner. The Attorney General has also filed about a dozen lawsuits in the bribery scheme.

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