Former Fort Dix Correctional Officer Sentenced to 26 Months in Prison for Accepting Bribes in Exchange for Delivering Contraband to Inmates

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Prison fence. Grid fence with barbed wire against sunset. Barbed wire. Security measures for prisoners in prison.

NEWARK, N.J. – A former federal correctional officer was sentenced today to 26 months in prison for accepting approximately $50,000 in cash bribes in exchange for delivering contraband to federal inmates, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Paul Anton Wright, 36, of Cinnaminson, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to Count 1 of a five-count indictment, charging him with accepting cash bribes to take official action and commit acts in violation of his duties as a public official, specifically as an employee of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Judge Salas imposed the sentence today.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

From 2014 through April 2018, Wright was employed as a correctional officer at Federal Correctional Institution Fort Dix (FCI Fort Dix), a Bureau of Prisons facility located in Burlington County. In 2015, while at FCI Fort Dix, Wright agreed to accept cash bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband, including tobacco, K2 (synthetic marijuana) and suboxone (a narcotic used to treat opioid addiction), to inmates.

Wright received cash bribes from two individuals outside of FCI Fort Dix. From February to September 2015, Wright traveled to Philadelphia on multiple occasions to meet with a relative of an FCI Fort Dix inmate and subsequently delivered contraband, including K2, to the inmate. From October to December of 2015, Wright traveled to New York City on multiple occasions to pick up contraband from a different inmate’s associate from whom he also received bribes in return for smuggling the contraband into FCI Fort Dix. 

In addition to the prison term, Judge Salas sentenced Wright to three years of supervised release. Wright previously consented to a $50,000 money judgment against, forfeiting monies he accepted as bribes.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, Washington, D.C., Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Russell W. Cunningham, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked special agents of the FBI for their assistance in the prosecution.    

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark J. McCarren and Tazneen Shahabuddin of the U.S. Attorney’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.