Four parole officers indicted in bribery scheme - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Four parole officers indicted in bribery scheme

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Four Texas Department of Criminal Justice parole officers from two Houston-area offices are scheduled to appear before a judge on Monday in connection with an alleged bribery scheme.

April L. Carson, 35, a Missouri City resident, and Houston resident Crystal M. Washington, 52, also known as Crystal Bureau, worked at the TDCJ office on Hamilton Street while Darlene J. Muhammad, 42, and Ernie Rogers, 56, both Houston residents, worked at the Houston TDCJ Parole Office on Telephone Road.

"Public officials suspected of corruption can undermine our trust and confidence in government and can tarnish virtually every aspect of American society," said Morris. "Despite the fact that the vast majority of our country's public officials are honest hard-working Americans who have dedicated their lives to serve the American people, there are unfortunately a small number who allegedly make decisions for the wrong reasons. The FBI will continue to pursue public corruption as a top priority and encourages anyone with information about potential wrongdoing by a public official to please contact the FBI."

Carson, Washington, Muhammad, and Rogers were all taken into custody on Monday and were scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge George Hanks at 2 p.m.

"These arrests are the result of an effective partnership with TDCJ-OIG and other law enforcement entities," said Livingston. "We fully support their efforts to investigate, arrest, and ultimately prosecute employees that are suspected of breaking the law."

The indictment, which was unsealed on Monday, indicates all four defendants are responsible for the supervision of Texas prison inmates. The responsibility includes supervision of parolees who travel between states and the supervision of their activities to ensure they do not engage in criminal conduct.

Carson, Washington, Muhammad, and Rogers chose to accept money from a parolee in order to allow the parolee to continue his or her illegal narcotics trafficking and distribution activity, according to the indictments filed against them.

Based on the indictment, each officer accepted bribes from parolees in amounts ranging between $1,000 and $3,000 on at least one occasion in order to allow them to continue their criminal behavior.

"The alleged actions of these employees can erode the public's confidence and damage the integrity of parole officers across the state that perform their duties faithfully every day," said Toney. "We are committed to rooting out suspected corruption within the criminal justice system."

If convicted, Carson, Washington, Muhammad, and Rogers each face up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

Anyone who suspects criminal activity or abuse within the TDCJ can submit a report by contacting the toll-free TDCJ waste/fraud abuse hotline by phone at 1-866-372-8329.

The FBI, Texas Rangers, Houston Police Department and Office of Inspector General for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice worked together in the investigation into the four TDCJ officers.

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