Wife of Former Mississippi Lawmaker Sentenced for Paying Kickbacks

Teresa Malone, the wife of a former Mississippi Representative, has been sentenced for paying kickbacks to former corrections commissioner Chris Epps, in what federal officials call one of largest, most far-reaching public corruption cases in Mississippi history.

Malone, of Carthage, was sentenced today (Friday) by U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate to 41 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for paying kickbacks to former Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) Commissioner Christopher Epps, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Malone was also ordered to pay $225,000 in restitution.

(Photo: Former corrections commissioner Chris Epps)

“Teresa Malone chose money over morals, as her criminal actions reflected selfishness, greed, and a lust for power, all the while harming our state and every Mississippian. Public corruption is corrosive to our society and our very form of government. As such, this office will continue making prosecutions of public corruption a top priority. I want to thank our special agents, law enforcement partners, and prosecutors for bringing these defendants to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Hurst.

Malone pled guilty before Judge Wingate in October, 2017, to paying kickbacks to Epps in exchange for receiving a consulting agreement involving the MDOC and its operations. During her guilty plea, Malone admitted to receiving $225,000.00 from a consulting agreement with an out of state contractor arranged by former MDOC Commissioner Epps. Malone received $5,000.00 a month out of which she paid Epps varying amounts from $1,000.00 to $1,750.00 per month. The scheme lasted from October of 2010 through July of 2014.

At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Wingate stated: “This whole matter has rocked the state and the persons in charge of rehabilitating others have become villains of the same system. Mrs. Malone received $225,000 for little or no work product and this is an extreme offense and there is a need for deterrence.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by First Assistant United States Attorney Darren LaMarca, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division Patrick A. Lemon, and Financial Analyst Kim Mitchell.