Prison workers, inmates sentenced for bribery scheme
Posted December 8, 2009
Raleigh, N.C. — Two workers at the federal prison in Butner and two inmates were sentenced Monday on bribery charges.
Natosha Latay Owens, 34, of Knightdale, James Christopher Ford, 35, of Greensboro, Ralph Ames, 32, of Bronx, N.Y., and Dwayne B. Dollson, 40, of Trenton, N.J., pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to bribe a public official. Owens, Ames and Dollson were sentenced two years in federal prison, while Ford was placed on probation for five years.
Owens worked in the kitchen at Butner Correctional Facility from 2003 to 2007 and sold contraband like cigarettes and a cellular phone to inmates, authorities said. Inmates used a network of friends and relatives to provide money to her, and she provided contraband to the inmates while they were working in the kitchen.
Authorities said these inmates would then resell the contraband to other inmates, who would often resell it again, each transaction resulting in a higher price and profit.
Ames also was a kitchen employee at Butner who obtained contraband from Owens. Dollson purchased a cell phone through other inmates who obtained it from Owens, authorities said. Ford purchased and resold cigarettes from other inmates, who purchased them from Owens, and Ford used the proceeds to run a gambling operation inside the prison, authorities said.
Three others convicted in the scheme are awaiting sentencing.
"Employees at all levels of our federal prison system must abide by its highest ethical and legal standards to ensure the proper functioning of our prison system," U.S. Attorney George Holding said in a statement.