Two former corrections officers who were employed by Florida's Hamilton Correctional Institution were arrested this week on charges of money laundering, bribery and introducing banned substances into the prison facility. According to a report from the Hamilton County Sheriff's office, Tom Pierce, 47, and Johnnie Ruth Young, 54, were sent to Hamilton County Jail on $10,000 bond. Both were charged with several financial crimes after an internal investigation brought to light that each was involved in an extensive money laundering operation during their employment at the prison.
The report shows that both Pierce and Young diverted various amounts of money through financial transactions, such as wire transfers, to bring contraband into the prison population. The contraband included tobacco, narcotics and cell phones, all of which were brought to prisoners in exchange for monetary compensation. Several transactions were carried out through Green-Dot money transfers that were applied to prepaid cards that were owned by Pierce. The evidence against Young alleges that she used her PO box to exchange the illegal substances for money.
The investigation was started when Green-Dot suspended the accounts of Pierce and Young when they began receiving a massive number of deposits. As the search began opening up, law enforcement officials found a cell phone with one of the inmates, which included a series of text messages from Young. More inmates came forward during the investigation, with one prisoner telling police that he had sent thousands of dollars to Pierce's Green-Dot account in exchange for marijuana, health supplements and cigarettes.
Young and Pierce have been charged with laundering somewhere between $300 and $20,000. Money laundering is the kind of crime that can be committed at any institution. For more information on money laundering, its many complicated layers and what you can do to prevent it, contact AML Partners today.