Eight years after kickback, two sentenced for paying off prison officials

January 23, 2012

Two Gainesville-area businessmen were sentenced last week for bribing top Department of Corrections brass to get a lucrative concessions contract - seven years after the scheme went down. Eddie Lee Dugger was sentenced to 26 months and Joseph Arthur Deese was given 14 months in federal prison for the conspiracy to pay up to $130,000 to disgraced DOC secretary James Crosby, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The sentences cap an ugly eight-year tale for the prison system - and provide a textbook example of how federal investigations can work.

It began in 2004 with a look into rampant steroid use among corrections officers who played in high-stakes softball tournaments on the weekends. It spread to theft of goods meant to be recycled, and with each guilty plea and agreement to cooperate, investigators were gathering string on who they thought was the big fish - Allen Clark.
Turns out, when they went to Clark, he said he could get them Crosby, his best friend and the man who aided Clark's rapid ascent in the department, according to newspaper reports. Clark served just more than two years and was released in 2009. Crosby is serving an eight-year sentence and is scheduled to be released in two years. Both Crosby and Clark agreed to help the government - presumably to tie up the cases against Deese and Dugger, according to the newspaper.

Until a case is dropped, it's not over. Even then, the government has been known to come back refile separate charges. If you think you are being looked at for a crime - or that someone is implicating you once they've been arrested themselves - the best thing you can do is hire a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney. When people are under the gun, they do what they can to save themselves and you need someone who is looking out for you - and only you. Our Jacksonville criminal defense firm has represented plenty of clients who've had former friends or business partners point the finger at them once police get involved.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County criminal lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.