Former Mississippi prison chief sentenced to nearly 20 years

(WHLT)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced the former head of Mississippi’s prison system to nearly 20 years in prison in a wide-ranging corruption case.

U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate handed down the sentence Wednesday to 56-year-old Christopher Epps.

The longtime corrections commissioner pleaded guilty in 2015 to money laundering and filing false tax returns. Epps pleaded in connection with nearly $1.5 million in bribes he took from contractors doing business with Mississippi prisons.

Prosecutors had recommended that Epps spend only 13 years in prison because he implicated others in the bribery scheme. However, Wingate rejected that recommendation and sentenced Epps to 19 years, seven months.

Epps has been jailed the past several months for violating terms of his bond.

Seven others have pleaded guilty to related charges in the bribery scheme, while charges remain pending against 2 people.

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