Sunday, April 20, 2008

USCG Veteran Sentenced To Federal Prison.

Morris Wade Hughes, a 20-year Coast Guard veteran, was sentenced Monday, 2 June, to nine months in federal prison for passing confidential information to his mistress, the owner of a fishing fleet who was convicted of hiring illegal immigrant workers.

Hughes, of Chesapeake,MD, also will serve five months of home confinement after his release from prison. U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson imposed a $2,000 fine as well.

Hughes, 50, was found guilty of three misdemeanors in February involving unauthorized access of government computers and unlawful dissemination of confidential information. A jury acquitted Hughes of more serious felony charges.

During a three-year affair with Michelle Peabody, who runs the Newport News commercial fishing company Peabody Corp., Hughes passed confidential information to her regarding, among other things, the location of competing vessels.
Hughes, a law enforcement officer who had been stationed in Yorktown,VA sought to avoid prison time. But Jackson found that his violation of public trust was deserving of some incarceration.

Federal prosecutors sought even more prison time, arguing that Hughes lied on the witness stand during his trial.

Hughes is awaiting word from the Coast Guard on whether he will be granted an honorable discharge with full benefits, his attorney, Keith Kimball, an assistant federal public defender, told the judge in a court memo.

Peabody was sentenced to 90 days in prison for hiring undocumented workers. The two cases were uncovered during the same investigation

Coast Guard BM1 Benjamin Bostic has been charged with one count of bribery and one count of extortion. He is alleged to have taken payments from the family of an illegal immigrant who was trying to avoid being deported.

According to an indictment unsealed Thursday 17 April 2008 in Detroit, Michigan BM1 Bostic, 35, stationed at Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, Mich., accepted more than $35,000 in bribes from the family since September of 2006.

“These charges allege a serious breach by a member of our armed forces,” said an announcement from Stephen Murphy, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. “Protecting our waterways and enforcing immigrations laws is an essential duty of the U.S. Coast Guard. This betrayal of the public’s trust will not be tolerated.

BM1 Bostic was a law enforcement small-boat operator at his station. He has been reassigned to non-law enforcement duties pending the commencement of trial or disciplinary action by the 9th Coast Guard District Commander.

BM1 Bostic faces a maximum of 18 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000 if he is convicted.

(17 Dec 2008)Coast Guard Petty Officer Pleaded Guilty to Extortion
A former U.S. Coast Guard petty officer pleaded guilty to extortion Wednesday in federal court in Ann Arbor.

Benjamin H. Bostic, 36, of Macomb Township, admitted to taking more than $30,000 from the family of an illegal alien seeking to avoid deportation.

Bostic, who joined the Coast Guard in 1996, is to be sentenced April 14 by U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. He faces 36 months in prison under his plea agreement.

The U.S. Coast Guard spotted a fishing boat with 92 Ecuadoreans migrants aboard on Sunday 13 April in international waters off the coast of Costa Rica. The 72 men and 20 women aboard were in good health.
Ecuador’s Merchant Marines Office estimates that 4,859 Ecuadoreans have been rescued since 2004 while attempting to reach the U.S. illegally via Central America
The vessel had veered off course and had mechanical problems when the U.S. Coast Guard spotted it from the air on 13 April in international waters.

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