Local suspects in prison kickback scheme sentenced


Published: Friday, January 13, 2012 at 10:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 13, 2012 at 10:44 p.m.

The last two men indicted in a state prison kickback scheme have been sentenced to federal prison and will likely get back out before the former head of the Florida Department of Corrections is released.

Edward Lee Dugger, 64, of Gainesville, and Joseph Arthur Deese, 38, of Fort White, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to pay kickbacks to former Corrections Secretary James Crosby and Allen Wayne Clark, another high-ranking prison official. After a six-hour sentencing hearing at the federal courthouse in Jacksonville on Friday, Dugger was sentenced to 26 months in prison, and Deese was sentenced to 14 months.

Federal prosecutors said that for nearly two years in the mid-2000s, Deese and Dugger paid Crosby and Clark to establish a business relationship between the state and with Keefe Commissary Network of St. Louis. Dugger and Deese admitted to federal officials that they created a company in 2004 to provide canteen services for visitors at all Florida prisons. In return for the agreement to operate the canteens, Dugger and Deese agreed to pay Crosby and Clark between $1,000 and $14,000 a month. They also agreed to pay former Keefe Commissary President Jack Donnelly and another Keefe executive about $260,000 of the $1.5 million a year they expected to make from sales, prosecutors said.

Dugger, who is having medical problems, must report to prison no later than May 1, according to court officials. Deese will be told by the U.S. Marshal's Service when to report, probably within 30 to 45 days, officials said.

Dugger and Deese will begin serving their terms a few years after Clark completed his 31-month sentence and a few years before Crosby completes his eight-year sentence.

Clark now operates a marina in the coastal Dixie County community of Suwannee.

Crosby is expected to be released by 2015.

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