Inmates Try To Blackmail Prison Officials

Wednesday, November 28th 2007, 2:50 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Three former inmates at the federal prison in El Reno have been convicted in connection with a scheme in which they claimed to have copyrighted their names and tried to blackmail prison officials. Russell Dean Landers, Barry Dean Bischoff and Clayton Heath Albers were found guilty by a federal jury in Oklahoma City Tuesday night of conspiracy and mailing threatening communications with the intent to extort.

Court documents say the men tried to bill prison officials millions of dollars for using their names without permission and recruited a person with experience repossessing property to help them. That person turned out to be an undercover FBI agent who told the inmates he had changed the locks on the prison warden's home, seized his car and frozen his bank accounts.

The inmates then offered to return the warden's property if they were set free.
Landers, 56, is currently in custody in Oklahoma County, while Albers, 61, and Bischoff, 60, are being held in Grady County, according to Bob Troester, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney John Richter. The three each face up to six years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy conviction and 10 years and a $250,000 fine for the threatening letters, Troester said.

Sentencing is expected in about 90 days.

In addition to the three, federal prison inmate Carl Ervin Batts and William Michael Roberson, 51, of Baton Rouge, La., have pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the case and face up to six years in prison and a fine of $250,000.