CORRECTIONS CORRUPTION: Guy "Butch" Evans sentenced to 6 months - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

CORRECTIONS CORRUPTION: Guy "Butch" Evans sentenced to 6 months in jail without probation

Judge Wingate has sentenced Guy "Butch" Evans to six months in prison without probation for his role in the Corrections Corruption Scandal. Source: WLBT Judge Wingate has sentenced Guy "Butch" Evans to six months in prison without probation for his role in the Corrections Corruption Scandal. Source: WLBT
After his sentence, he will also have three years' supervised release and 400 hours of community service. He has also given up his license to be an insurance broker. Source: WLBT After his sentence, he will also have three years' supervised release and 400 hours of community service. He has also given up his license to be an insurance broker. Source: WLBT
Separately, Evans settled with the Attorney General's Office and paid a fine of $100,000 to the State of Mississippi. He also paid $5,000 to the federal government. Source: WLBT Separately, Evans settled with the Attorney General's Office and paid a fine of $100,000 to the State of Mississippi. He also paid $5,000 to the federal government. Source: WLBT
Evans pleaded guilty in April to aiding and abetting tax evasion. That charge is much more minor than his original indictment for conspiracy and bribery, which could have carried as much as a 30 year prison sentence. Source: WLBT Evans pleaded guilty in April to aiding and abetting tax evasion. That charge is much more minor than his original indictment for conspiracy and bribery, which could have carried as much as a 30 year prison sentence. Source: WLBT
Evans says that between January 2013 and May 2014, he paid Epps a total of $19,200. Source: WLBT Evans says that between January 2013 and May 2014, he paid Epps a total of $19,200. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Judge Wingate has sentenced Guy "Butch" Evans to six months in prison without probation for his role in the Corrections Corruption Scandal. After his sentence, he will also have three years supervised release and 400 hours of community service. He has also given up his license to be an insurance broker.

Separately, Evans settled with the Attorney General's Office and paid a fine of $100,000 to the State of Mississippi. He also paid $5,000 to the federal government.

Evans pleaded guilty in April to aiding and abetting tax evasion. That charge is much more minor than his original indictment for conspiracy and bribery, which could have carried as much as a 30 year prison sentence.

READ MORE: INSURANCE AGENT PLEADS GUILTY IN CORRECTIONS CORRUPTION CASE

As part of his plea deal, the U.S. government also asked that the judge sentence Evans based on criminal information guidelines, rather than the statute for aiding and abetting tax fraud. That also reduced the maximum sentence.

In April, the prosecution said they were seeking a sentence of five years in prison, with three years of supervised release and a $100,000 fine. Instead, under the guidelines, the maximum sentence Judge Wingate could hand down was just six months in jail. 

At his plea hearing, Evans testified that while working in 2012 as an independent insurance broker, he won a contract for the insurance firm Colonial Life to be the sole insurance provider for MDOC employees. He says that was done completely legally, but that shortly thereafter, the Corrections Commissioner, Christopher Epps, implied that Evans would have to pay Epps bribes in order to maintain the ~ $323,000 contract.

Evans says that between January 2013 and May 2014, he paid Epps a total of $19,200. These payments were made in installments that Evans described as happening irregularly. There was no consistent schedule for the payments, no set meeting place and no set amount. Evans would give Epps "10 or 15 percent of his earnings." 

Judge Wingate says he took a number of other case details into account when deciding to deny Evans the possibility of parole. 

One large factor in the decision is that Wingate says Evans is a multi-millionaire who wouldn't have been financially wounded by the loss of the $323,000 contract with the Department of Corrections. When Evans brought up that he felt pressured by Epps' threat to take the contract away, Wingate pointed out that Evans would have not been in a position where he was struggling financially as a result, making the threat less poignant. 

Judge Wingate wanted to know specifically how many times Evans met with Epps, because the Judge viewed each encounter as an individual opportunity to turn Epps in for the bribery scheme. The prosecution was not at first aware specifically of how many times, and the defense said it was hard to pinpoint because the meetings were not regularly scheduled. 

Evans' defense team argued that Evans was not aware of the extent of the scheme, because he didn't know others were involved. However, in April, Evans testified that after receiving the insurance contract with MDOC, Epps told him, "my friends take care of me, and I expect you to be my friend," to imply that he would require bribe money. Judge Wingate says, based on that testimony, though Evans may not have had specific knowledge of who else was involved, Evans would have known he was not the only one.

Judge Wingate also pointed out that those other people involved still faced charges of bribery, though Evans had his sentenced reduced. Christopher Epps is serving upwards of 20 years in prison; eight other people have been convicted, and the Attorney General has filed about a dozen other lawsuits in the case. Because Evans' role was similar to others who faced worse convictions, Judge Wingate found it would not be proper to give Evans probation.

The guidelines by which the plea deal required Judge Wingate base his decision are based on a point system. Aggravating elements to each crime (For instance, if a person has a drug charge but also had a firearm, the weapon would be an aggravating element) add points; a criminal history adds points; points are removed for a guilty plea. The sentence is based on the final point score.

Evans' lawyers asked that, because he is 63 years old, has no criminal history, and is unlikely to be a repeat offender, he serve no prison time at all. The defense submitted a memorandum requesting probation or some combination of house arrest and community service. The prosecution said they would not argue if the judge chose to grant Evans probation.

However, after reviewing the facts of the case, the judge chose to deny probation anyway, and deliver the maximum sentence available. 

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