Crime

Their $4.4 million scam to help inmates turned them into inmates

Alvin Warrick got 19 years, seven months after pleading guilty in Miami to wire fraud and mail fraud charges while co-conspirator Colitha Bush got eight years after working a sentence reduction scam that sucked $4.4 million from federal inmates’ families.
Alvin Warrick got 19 years, seven months after pleading guilty in Miami to wire fraud and mail fraud charges while co-conspirator Colitha Bush got eight years after working a sentence reduction scam that sucked $4.4 million from federal inmates’ families. File

Two people worked a con on some cons looking for sentence reductions. Now, they get to be cons themselves.

A pair of Texans, Beaumont’s Alvin Warrick and Port Arthur’s Colitha Bush, were sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Miami after pleading guilty to wire fraud and mail fraud charges. Warrick received 19 years, seven months and Bush got eight years for their scheme that worked families of federal inmates in Miami-Dade County looking for what’s called a “Rule 35” sentence reduction.

That’s a rule that says the court can reduce a defendant’s sentence if he or she gives significant help in the investigation or prosecution of someone else. No fees are charged for this by the court or the government,, which must file such a motion.

But Private Services, the phony company Warrick, Bush and their co-consiprators, did charge the inmates and families who responded to the offer of assistance in gaining a Rule 35 reduction. Private Services promised help for the inmates from a network of informants and law enforcement folks.

All they had to do was make regular payments to start the process. And, court documents say, at least 22 victims paid more than $4.4 million.

Houston’s Roland Shepherd was sentenced in May to two years, four months for his role in the scheme.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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