VICTORVILLE, Calif. – A Victorville correctional officer was arrested for allegedly accepting thousands of dollars in cash bribes to smuggle contraband into a prison.
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) correctional officer, who was a lieutenant investigating wrongdoing by inmates and officers at the Federal Correctional Complex in the City of Victorville was arrested on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The 49-year-old suspect was identified by federal officials as Paul James Hayes II, of Victorville. Hayes has been on voluntary leave from his employment since October 2018. He is now facing two felonies including acceptance of a bribe by a public official and conspiracy to provide and possess contraband in prison. Hayes was in federal court on Friday and has since been released with a $170,000 bond.
A suspicious trail of emails and calls from an inmate and his girlfriend, Angel Marie Wagner, 42, of Buena Park beginning June 2018 led to an investigation. The affidavit said that the conversations included meeting a BOP staff member outside of a Victorville Home Depot store on July 15, 2018. In addition, the conversations included information about money transfers being made. Agents went to the Home Depot in the City of Victorville and witnessed Hayes arrive in his Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. Wagner walked over to his vehicle and handed him an envelope. Hayes took possession of the envelope and put it inside of his vehicle.
Wagner was interviewed by federal agents on Thursday and she identified Hayes from a photo lineup and said that she met with him several times in 2018. Wagner said that she provided Hayes with around $40,000 in cash during their 2018 meeting. Wagner admitted to receiving wire transfers, which she took out in cash to give to Hayes. Court documents state that Wagner suspected that some of the envelopes she gave to Hayes containing cash, also may have contained controlled substances or cell phones.
Several transfers of money were made to Wagner from people believed to be involved with the bribery conspiracy. Hayes received bank deposits totaling $12,520 over the period from March 8, 2018, to August 7, 2018. These deposits were made on at least seven occasions.
Wagner was arrested on Friday, March 1, 2019, and is facing charges of conspiracy to bribe a public official, bribery of a public official, and conspiracy to provide and possess contraband in prison. She was released on a $50,000 bond. If convicted as charged, Hayes can face up to 20 years in federal prison and Wagner can face up to 25 years in federal prison.
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