South Hill woman convicted in correctional bribery scheme

Shanice Bullock, 29, of South Hill along with Stephen Taylor, 50, of Wake Forest, were involved in a bribery scheme at Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg.

Bullock and Taylor, along with other co-conspirators, participated in a bribery scheme at the federal prison between 2015 and 2019 to “facilitate the introduction and distribution of contraband across the prison facility” and directly to inmate Dontay Cox. 

“Taylor and Bullock blatantly abused their positions of authority as federal correctional officers to enrich themselves at the expense of the public, the safety of the prison they were responsible for protecting, and the dedicated Bureau of Prison employees with whom they served,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Instead of ensuring that the inmates of the prison served their sentences in a safe and lawful manner, these defendants violated their oaths as sworn officers and joined a criminal enterprise that was driven by their greed. As this prosecution demonstrates, we will not tolerate any criminal acts that are designed to corrupt or undermine the fair and impartial administration of justice.”

Dontay Cox, who pleaded guilty to bribery of public officials on March 22, was an inmate at FCI Petersburg from January 2014 until July 2019. He was later transferred to another institution. During his time at FCI Petersburg, Cox ran a gambling operation and obtained and sold contraband, including Suboxone, marijuana, heroin, cigarettes, and cellular telephones. 

Taylor and Bullock accepted monetary bribes from friends and family of Cox who were not incarcerated. In return, Taylor and Bullock permitted “the introduction as well as distribution of the contraband items in the prison”.

“Correctional Officers Taylor and Bullock jeopardized the safety and security of their colleagues by accepting bribes from inmate Cox to bring contraband into the prison. The Office of the Inspector General is committed to rooting out these bribery schemes and bringing the perpetrators to justice,” said Russell W. Cunningham, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Washington Field Office.

Between October 2017 and April 2019, Bullock and Taylor received around $46,841 in bribes from both wire transfers and cash payments from individuals associated with Cox. 

Cox’ mother, Kim Williams was recently sentenced to 45 months for her role in the scheme. According to documents, Williams paid over $60,000 in bribery payments. “Between December 2016 and September 2018, Williams’ bank account showed deposits of over $137,000, nearly $95,000 was in untraceable cash deposits. 

Taylor was sentenced to 4 years in prison for solicitation and acceptance of bribes. Bullock was sentenced to 10 months in prison for solicitation and acceptance of bribes.