Chaplain at federal prison in Beaumont pleads guilty to bribery charge

Chaplain at federal prison in Beaumont pleads guilty to bribery charge

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - A 42-year-old federal prison chaplain has pleaded guilty to bribery in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.

Eric S. Patrick, of Nederland, Texas, pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with bribery of a public official today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn.

According to information presented in court, in July 2015, investigators at the U.S. Penitentiary in Beaumont, Texas seized two gallon bags of tobacco and rolling papers from inmates at the prison.  An investigation revealed that Patrick, while employed by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons as a chaplain at the prison, was smuggling tobacco and cigarettes into the prison for inmates.  To facilitate the scheme, Patrick set up several scam post office boxes and charged inmates $1,500 in each instance.

Under federal statutes, Patrick faces up to 15 years in federal prison at sentencing.  The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress and is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the Department of Justice – Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Craft.