Coast businessman pleads guilty to bribery in MDOC corruption case

Coast businessman pleads guilty to bribery in MDOC corruption case

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Coast businessman Robert Simmons, 60, has pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges.

Simmons is charged with carrying out a kickback scheme "in which he paid money to the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) and to a Harrison County Supervisor in exchange for lucrative contracts with the state and county...."

Thursday afternoon in the U.S. District Court, Simmons admitted to bribing former MDOC Commissioner Christopher Epps and former Harrison County Supervisor William Martin. Simmons was a consultant for companies that were awarded contracts by MDOC.

Simmons is accused of receiving "more than $10,000 during each one year period beginning in 2008 and continuing through 2014." Click here to read the document from The Department of Justice.

Simmons attorney Karl C. Hightower says his client "was looking forward to paying his debt to society."

Bond was set at $25,000, and Simmons is scheduled to be sentenced on May 26. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. 

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