Ex-Mississippi prison boss and businessman change course, admit to roles in bribery scheme

A former prison official and a businessman are changing their pleas in federal court and admitting to a bribery scheme involving hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts.

Former Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps pleaded guilty Wednesday to money laundering conspiracy and income tax evasion. Sentencing is set for June 9. Epps faces up to 23 years in prison and fines of $750,000. He's also agreed to forfeit nearly $2 million in assets.

Brandon businessman Cecil McCrory's lawyer says his client plans to plead guilty later Wednesday, although he wouldn't say which charges were involved.

Prosecutors say Epps received about $1.5 million in bribes from McCrory and others, and in exchange steered contracts to companies owned by or associated with the businessman.

Each man had previously pleaded not guilty.