Beaumont federal prison chaplain guilty of bribery

Beaumont federal prison chaplain guilty of bribery

According to information from Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas Brit Featherston, a 42-year-old Beaumont-based federal prison chaplain pleaded guilty to bribery on Thursday, Jan. 19.

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

According to information presented in court and provided by Featherston's office, in July 2015, investigators at the U.S. Penitentiary in Beaumont 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. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.