A woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday in New Haven federal court to conspiring to defraud the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
Constance Moerland, 33, of Hudsonville, Michigan, played a role in a scheme to qualify prospective and current federal inmates who do not require substance abuse treatment for admission into a Federal Bureau of Prisons program that, if completed successfully, will result in a shortened prison term.
The plea was announced by John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) is a 500-hour substance abuse treatment program that is administered by the BOP.
In order to gain admission to the RDAP, a federal inmate must meet certain criteria, including having a diagnosable and verifiable drug or alcohol abuse disorder. By successfully completing the RDAP, an inmate can qualify for up to 12 months in early release from custody.
Moerland was employed by Michigan-based RDAP Law Consultants, LLC, where she solicited and engaged prospective clients of the company.
In that capacity, Moerland regularly contacted federal defendants and inmates with offers to assist, for a fee, those defendants and inmates in applying and qualifying for admission to the RDAP. Although Moerland knew that many of the company’s clients did not abuse alcohol or drugs and were ineligible for the RDAP, she coached them how to feign or exaggerate a drug or alcohol disorder, and to make false statements to the BOP so they could gain admission to the RDAP.
Moerland was arrested on January 23, 2019.
Moerland is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer on August 21, 2019, at which time Moerland faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. She is released pending sentencing.
This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Avi Perry of the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section, who has been designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for this matter, and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan N. Francis of the District of Connecticut.
U.S. Attorney Durham thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith George Thomas of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Raymond E. Beckering III of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan, for their assistance in this matter.