A California Correctional Center (CCC) officer who allegedly received thousands of dollars from inmates’ families in return for smuggling cellphones and tobacco into the Susanville facility has been sentenced.
In a press release July 23, Benjamin Wagner, United States district attorney for the Eastern District of California, announced that Bobby Joe Kirby, 54, of Reno, Nev., was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a $15,635 forfeiture judgment.
According to court documents, Kirby pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud Nov. 14, 2011.
It is alleged that between June 2010 and June 2011, Kirby received $15,635 in wire transfers from inmates’ families and associates in return for smuggling cellphones and tobacco into CCC. When Kirby was arrested, he was allegedly in possession of wire receipts and a new cellphone. He confessed he had been accepting $150 for each cellphone that he smuggled to an inmate.
In sentencing, United States District Judge William B. Shubb said the fact Kirby received bribes distinguished his case from mere contraband smuggling. Kirby had suggested his contraband smuggling to a minimum security facility was less serious than some other cases.
In response, Shubb told Kirby, “It’s not up to you to decide who gets a cellphone. There is a good reason why (prisoners) are not allowed to have cellphones.”
Wagner said, “A law enforcement officer represents a profound public trust. More than a hundred times for more than a year, Bobby Joe Kirby breached that for personal gain. What he did absolutely requires that he cross to the other side of the bars he once guarded.”
This case is the product of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Department of Corrections. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew D. Segal prosecuted the case.
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