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Guy E. “Butch” Evans, a businessman from Jackson, is the latest defendant accused of paying bribes and kickbacks to former Mississippi Department of Corrections chief Christopher Epps.
Evans’ two-count indictment, announced today by the U.S. Attorney’s office, accuses him of conspiracy to bribe a public official and wire fraud in exchange for exclusive access to sell insurance products to MDOC employees.
The indictment states that Evans gave Epps bribes and kickbacks for the exclusive insurance business, making payments to Epps ranging from $1,400 to $1,700 per month from January 2013 through May 2014.
Evans made his initial appearance Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Ball, who set his trial for Oct. 3 before U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate. Several other cases related to the Epps scandal also are scheduled that day with Wingate.
If convicted, Evans faces up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Epps, who pleaded guilty to two charges of bribery and receipt of kickbacks totaling more than $1.4 million, has yet to be sentenced.
In related cases, Carthage businessman Sam Waggoner was also charged with bribery, but has not yet been sentenced.
Rankin County businessman and lobbyist Cecil McCrory, Epps’ alleged co-conspirator, said he plans to withdraw his earlier guilty plea.
Corinth businessman, former state senator and lobbyist Irb Benjamin faces trial Oct. 3.
In other Epps bribery cases, Texas businessman businessman Mark Longoria pleaded guilty recently and will be sentenced in a few months, and Biloxi businessman Robert Simmons pleaded guilty last February and will be sentenced Sept. 15.
Another defendant, Jackson physician Carl Reddix, also has an Oct. 3 trial date, but prosecutors have asked for a special trial setting no later than Sept. 28.
They all area accused of paying Epps to acquire and retain state prison contracts.