Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Record 309-Year Sentence Upheld for White-Collar Criminal

BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced today that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a sentence of 309 years' imprisonment for Robert Thompson, also known as John Lawson, age 44, of Zachary, Louisiana. Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson imposed the sentence on February 17, 2010, following Thompson's conviction on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and obstruct justice; seven counts of wire fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering; one count of mail fraud; one count of honest services mail fraud; one count of money laundering; four counts of access device fraud; two counts of aggravated identify theft; one count of computer fraud; one count of bank fraud; and one count of obstruction of justice.

The 309-year sentence constituted the fourth-longest white-collar prison sentence in U.S. history and the longest such sentence in the history of the Middle District of Louisiana. Thompson is currently serving his sentence in a specialized communication management unit located within the maximum security federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. The unit is one of only two in the country and is specially designed to deal with inmates who are prone to use communication with the outside to facilitate additional crimes.

This matter involved Thompson, a career criminal, engaging in multiple, long-running conspiracies with numerous co-conspirators to obtain and use the personal and financial information of approximately 150 individuals, churches, financial institutions, and businesses, without their knowledge or authorization, to steal from their bank accounts and use their credit to obtain things of value, including attempting to steal $20,000,000 from one victim's bank accounts. To facilitate the scheme, Thompson enlisted corrections officers to assist him through bribery and other means.

This matter was led by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, and the security and investigations staff of the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center. Many other agencies assisted in the investigation, including the Madison Parish Sheriff's Office, the Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office, East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office, the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, the Hardeman County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office, the Bolivar, Tennessee Police Department, the Baton Rouge Police Department, and the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

This matter was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Criminal Chief Corey R. Amundson and Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens. Appellate Chief Catherine M. Marist and Assistant United States Attorney Helina S. Dayries handled the appeal.

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